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JUL/AUG 2013  

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EDMing

Top Features

Micro sinker EDMing requires part manufacturers to optimize a host of areas to achieve success, such as applying new technology, developing new machining parameters, mastering electrode production and managing electrode wear.

Figuring out micro-sinker-EDMing is no easy task. As electrodes shrink, challenges grow, including maintaining the proper spark gap, minimizing electrode wear and determining the correct power settings. Plus, experienced EDMers know that using graphite electrodes can turn your hands black.

When micromachining, a wire EDM offers distinct advantages. It can cut complex contours, meet tolerances of ±0.0001" and impart surface finishes of 0.18µm Ra and finer. Also, in a properly executed operation, the wire never touches the workpiece, eliminating cutting forces and enhancing accuracy.

Deburring is a major challenge when micromachining. Making microparts often involves milling and drilling them, then removing them from the machine for hand deburring.

While writing this column on wire EDMing best practices, we learned that the term “best practices” has fallen out of favor. Earlier this year, Forbes magazine editors included it in a collection of 45 phrases they called “the most annoying business jargon.” They also judged best practices “the single most pompous confection the consulting industry has ever dreamed up.”

Leadership guru Stephen Covey beat me to the punch when he made the rule “begin with the end in mind” part of his bestseller, “7 Habits of Highly Successful People.” That advice is the central theme in why workholding deserves early consideration when wire EDMing complex microparts.

Top Videos

AccuteX EDM Vice President Pete Intihar offers his own take on what's required to control the spark gap when performing wire EDMing operations at the micro scale in this brief video report shot during IMTS 2012.

July 25, 2011—With available wire diameters down to 0.05mm, the CUT 2000 wire cut EDM machine from Agie Charmilles LLC is said to open up new opportunities for ultra-precise machining of miniaturized components in the aerospace, defense, medical and semiconductor industries. In this brief video report, Agie Charmilles highlights the machine's automatic wire changer.

May 25, 2011—Sodick Inc. introduces new TMM3 electronic discharge power supply unit to its line of sinker EDMs. MICROmanufacturing Senior Editor Alan Richter interviews Sodick Inc. President Dave Thomas.

July 9, 2009—Xact Wire EDM Corp. celebrates its 25th anniversary this year—a period marked by growth and increasingly interesting times. 

“The last 5 years have been more interesting and challenging than the first 20,” said company co-founder John Dora.

Oct. 30, 2008—Graham Ruck, sales/applications manager for Leer Technologies Inc., reviews the newest features of the SARIX-200 3-D Multi-Axis MicroEDM Milling machine.

Top Products

Twin City EDM

microholde poppingTwin City EDM and Manufacturing's micro hole EDM services are used to produce small holes ranging from .002" to .125" in any conductive material including traditional metals such as stainless steel, tool steel, and titanium as well as more exotic materials including Inconel, Nitinol, gold, molybdenum, and conductive ceramics. 

Accutex EDM

AccuteX wireEDMAccuteX EDM introduces its SP-300iA 5-axis CNC wire EDM. The machine features the new MST-II function, a new “microsparking” technology that imparts fine surface finishes.

Accutex EDM

AccuteX EDMAccuteX EDM, a division of Absolute Machine Tools Inc., has introduced its SP-300iA 5-Axis CNC wire EDM. The machine features new microsparking technology, the MST-II function, which provides the fine surface finishes typically found on parts for the aerospace and medical industries, according to the company.

Makino

SuperSpark thumbMakino Inc. recently released the latest version of its SuperSpark sinker EDM technology—the SuperSpark IV. Building on the advancements of its predecessors, SuperSpark IV is said to reduce roughing times in deep-rib applications by up to 30 percent.

GF AgieCharmilles

GF AgieCharmilles, Lincolnshire, Ill., offers the CUT 2000 and CUT 3000 wire-cutting EDM machines with an optional third-generation automatic wire changer.