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Wire Electrical Discharge Machining
Wednesday November 25, 2009 - Sometimes also known as spark machining, burning, die sinking or wire erosion, wire discharge machining is a technique used to cut complex parts out of any conducting material. This technique is especially suited for those tasks which require cutting very hard metals and those that are not easily milled with other techniques. With that said, softer materials like Aluminum or bronze can be easily cut as well.
An alternative to traditional milling techniques that rely on mechanical force to get the job done, wire electrical discharge machining uses rapid electrical current discharges which passes through a thin wire that is continuously replaced on the cutting tool. These "sparks" wear away the work piece and shape it into the desired part.
Even though this process of rapid sparking may sound hard to control, it is actually quite precise and this technique can be used to make parts that are measured in feet and parts measured in fractions of inches with tolerances from .003" for a quick cut, to .0002" for even more precision! Another advantage of wire electrical machining is that the part can be EDM'd to a fine finished surface minimizing the amount of final finishing needed for many applications.