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Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is a controlled metal-removal process that is used to remove metal by means of electric spark erosion. In this process an electric spark is used as the cutting tool to cut (erode) the workpiece to produce the finished part to the desired shape. The metal-removal process is performed by applying a pulsating (ON/OFF) electrical charge of high-frequency current through the electrode to the workpiece. This removes (erodes) very tiny pieces of metal from the workpiece at a controlled rate.EDM spark erosion is the same as having an electrical short that burns a small hole in a piece of metal it contacts. With the EDM process both the workpiece material and the electrode material must be conductors of electricity.
The EDM process can be used in two different ways:
1. A preshaped or formed electrode (tool),usually made from graphite or copper, is shaped to the form of the cavity it is to reproduce. The formed electrode is fed vertically down and the reverse shape of the electrode is eroded (burned) into the solid workpiece.
2. A continuous-travelling vertical-wire electrode, the diameter of a small needle or less, is controlled by the computer to follow a programmed path to erode or cut a narrow slot through the workpiece to produce the required shape.