Precision Engineering Services: EDM Wire Cutting and Its Key Applications

07 July 2023

EDM wire cutting is a precision cutting technique that relies on thin metal wire to create shapes and patterns in metals, making it useful to a variety of industries.

Different machining processes are maximised by manufacturers to create a variety of parts and components. They can also be utilised in creating prototypes.

One of the processes they take advantage of is electrical discharge machining (EDM) wire cutting. It is a precision cutting technique that uses a thin metal wire as an electrode to create intricate shapes and patterns in metal workpieces. The wire, which is often made from brass, copper, or tungsten, is guided by computer-controlled movements. It can conveniently produce precise cuts with minimal distortion.

EDM Wire Cutting Step-by-step Process

Many steps are involved in carrying out EDM wire cutting. These steps are as follows.

• Select a material: The first step in EDM wire cutting is selecting the material to be cut. Metals like aluminium, brass, copper, and steel are commonly cut using this method. The material selected should have the necessary hardness, conductivity, and thickness to make it suitable for the process.

• Create a CAD design: Once the material is selected, a 3D computer-aided design (CAD) model of the desired shape must be created. The CAD model is used to create a program that controls the EDM machine during the cutting process. The program specifies the dimensions, shape, and cutting path of the part.

• Prepare the workpiece: The workpiece is then cleaned to remove any debris, rust, or oil that may affect the accuracy of the cutting process. Once cleaned, the workpiece is placed on a specialised fixture that holds it in place during cutting.

• Thread a charged wire: A thin, electrically charged wire is threaded through the workpiece, and the wire tension is adjusted. The wire can be made from brass, copper, or tungsten, and it is usually between 0.1 and 0.3 millimetres in diameter. The wire is guided through the workpiece by a series of pulleys or guides, and it is continuously fed through the machine.

• Cut the workpiece: The wire is lowered into the workpiece, generating a spark between the wire and the material, and eroding it to create the initial cut.The initial cut is usually made with a rough cutting wire that can remove the bulk of the material quickly.Once the initial cut is made, the EDM machine begins the cutting process. The wire will be continuously fed through the workpiece, cutting it layer by layer until the desired shape is achieved. The CNC system then adjusts the speed and direction of the wire to ensure accurate and precise cuts.

• Carry out finishing:After the cutting process is complete, the workpiece is removed from the fixture and cleaned to remove any debris or residue. The workpiece is then finished to achieve the desired surface finish. The finishing process may involve polishing, sanding, or other surface treatments, depending on the requirements of the part.

• Inspect the quality: The finished part is inspected for accuracy and quality to ensure it meets the required specifications.

Main Applications of EDM Wire Cutting

EDM wire cutting can be useful in many applications. The aerospace industry, for instance, relies on this process to produce turbine blades, nozzles, and fuel injectors. The automotive industry also uses EDM wire cutting in producing gears and engine components. Surgical instruments and implants utilised in the medical industry can likewise be done by EDM wire cutting. Even the electronics industry uses this process to create connectors and terminals.

Prototyping and toolmaking can also be achieved through EDM wire cutting as the process can create complex shapes and designs with high precision and accuracy.

EDM wire cutting is a highly precise and efficient method for cutting complex shapes in metals. By following these steps, the process can produce high-precision parts and components that meet the strictest requirements of various industries.

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