CALL OUR EDM TECH HOTLINE 800-346-9004
Click on the bar with the first letter of the word you would like to see defined.
The tool used in the total form machining method of producing graphite electrodes.
Altered Metal Zone (AMZ)
The mechanically and mechanically altered zones created by the EDM process on the work metal surface.
An instrument for measuring electric current in amperes.
In EDM, the amount of average current measured during the cut.
The unit of electric current. Equivalent to the steady current produced by 1m, volt across 1 ohm.
A class of EDM graphite characterized by a particle and pore size of less than 1m, very high strength, isotropy, and uniform structure. The most advanced graphite material available.
Exhibiting properties whose values change when measured along differing axes. Opposite of isotropic.
The positive terminal of an electrolytic cell or battery. Often incorrectly applied to the tool (electrode) in the EDM process.
A continuous flow of electrical current between an electrode and workplace. Should an arc occur in EDM, the work piece, electrode, or both will usually be damaged. An arc is normally visually recognizable as a yellow flash.
Same as Arc suppressor (below).
Same as Arc suppressor (below).
A circuit in the EDM power supply that reduces the possibility of arcing.
Automatic Tool Changer (ATC)
A device used with computer numerically controlled (CNC) EDM to provide automatic operation.
Automatic depth finder
(Refer first to Depth finder) An automatic depth finder is electrically connected to the servo and will stop the downward advance of the electrode at within 0.0001″ of the work piece surface and will hold it at this distance. Therefore, if the work piece position is shifted by moving the table in any direction with its handwheels, the servo will constantly adjust the vertical relationship of the electrode to maintain its distance at 0.0001″ away from even a previously EDMed cavity, even one with an irregular surface.
The average value of all the minimum and maximum peaks of amperage in the spark gap, as read on the ammeter. For any given available current setting, the higher the average current, the greater the efficiency of the particular cut being made. See machining rate.
A block of graphite, usually the uncut size as produced by the manufacturer.
Any hole or cavity cut into a solid shape which does not connect with other holes.
The exit end of a through-hole cavity at the moment of completion.
A slang term for EDM.
An electrical component that stores an electric charge. In some EDM power supplies, a bank of capacitors is connected across the machining gap. The current for the spark comes directly from the capacitors when they are discharged.
An abundant, naturally occurring element. Often used in place of the word graphite. Graphite is a form of the element carbon. There are four forms of carbon, the others being amorphous carbon (having no definite crystal structure), diamond, and the recently discovered fullerenes (also known as Buckyballs).
A material which causes an increase in the rate of a reaction due to its presence, but is unchanged at the end of the reaction. In EDM, catalyst refers to particulates of graphite and metal which aid in establishing a current path in the dielectric fluid.
The negative terminal in an electrolytic cell or battery. In EDM, sometimes incorrectly applied to the work piece.
The pumping of dielectric fluid through either the electrode or the work piece for flushing.
A method of flushing dielectric through a center hole in an electrode.
A continuous path allowing and directing the flow of electric current.
A class of graphite characterized by a particle size of more than 100m large pores and voids, a non-uniform structure, and low strength. Not recommended as an EDM electrode material.
A device used to hold electrodes with round shanks.
Particles suspended in a liquid that are too fine to settle out. In EDM, the tiny particles produced in the sparking action form a colloidal suspension in the dielectric fluid.
The first group of metallic electrode materials. Includes copper, brass, and zinc.
Made up of more than one material. In EDM, copper tungsten is an example of a metallic composite. The copper and tungsten do not alloy, but are simply combined together. Copper graphite is a metallic/carbon composite.
Computer Numeric Control (CNC)
Programmed control of EDM by means of microprocessors.
An obsolete term for capacitor.
A material that will carry electric current.
The accumulation of debris in the dielectric fluid, causing a decrease in the fluid’s dielectric strength.
Sometimes used incorrectly to describe dielectric fluid.
A graphite EDM electrode material infiltrated with copper.
A porous tungsten material infiltrated with copper.
The slug that remains after EDMing with an electrode that has a flush hole in it.
In EDM, the corners of the electrode wear the most. Corner wear is the distance up the electrode corners that show signs of wear.
The small cavities left on the EDMed surface of the work piece by the EDM sparks. Also known as pits.
Cubic inches per hour (in3/hr)
The units of measure used to describe the rate of metal removal from the work piece. See machining rate.
take a cut, To machine with EDM.
Same as Machining rate.
Same as Arc.
DC (Direct Current)
Constant polarity current, as opposed to Alternating Current (AC), which changes polarity from negative to positive in cycles.
The highest temperature at which a tool steel may be heat treated and still be hardened in a quenching medium.
A return of the condition of the dielectric to a non-conductive state. Failure to accomplish deionization (through flushing) during off-time of the spark is responsible for DC arcing.
An aid for machine set up. An electrical impulse is used to indicate when a downward moving electrode approaches to within 0.0001 of contact with the surface of the work piece, either to start a cut or to reposition the electrode to resume cutting, as after dressing an electrode. Used when manually or power jogging an electrode downward. Usually used in conjunction with a dial indicator to set depth of cut at which EDMing will stop. NOTE: Do not confuse with Automatic depth finder.
Depth of craters, pits
The distance from the peaks to valleys on an EDMed surface.
In small hole EDMing, the ratio of the depth of a blind hole compared to the diameter of the electrode used to make the hole.
Diameter (dia.) (Ø)
The length of a straight line through the center of a round object.
Diametral sparking distance
The difference between the electrode dimension and the dimension of the cavity produced.
In EDM, a nonconductive liquid. It fills the gap between the electrode and work piece and acts as an insulator until a specific gap and voltage are achieved. It then ionizes and becomes an electrical conductor, allowing a current (spark) to flow through it to the work piece. It also serves to cool the work and to flush away the particles generated by the spark.
The voltage at which the insulating qualities of a material break down. In EDM, a specification applied to dielectric fluid.
The EDM spark.
The conductive pathway formed by ionized dielectric and vapor between the electrode and work piece.
The process used to dress worn electrodes prior to finishing. The machine is programmed to move the worn electrode to a dressing block in the work tank. After dressing, the electrode is returned to the cavity for the finishing cut.
A different branch of EDM technology using the destructive power of electric arcs.
A slight up and down vibratory motion of the machine tool ram and attached electrode used to improve cutting stability.
A control circuit to advance or retract the electrode.
The remachining of the face of a three dimensional electrode to sharpen its detail after it has been used to sink a mold cavity. Electrodes used to make a through-hole are often cut off at the worn end.
Dual power supply
Two EDM power supplies in a single cabinet which can be used to operate two machines simultaneously, or can be connected to apply the full power available to only one machine.
Capable of being drawn out or hammered thin.
The percentage of the on-time relative to the sum of the on-time and off-time setting for a particular cut.
An electrically activated device on an EDM machine to aid in the accurate location of the work piece with respect to the electrode. When any point along the side of the workplace is brought to within approximately 0.0001″ of any point along the side of the electrode, a signal light or buzzer will be activated.
See Electrical Discharge Machining (below).
A measure of EDM performance which varies with the on-time and off-time settings for an EDM cut. See Duty cycle (above).
Electrical Discharge Grinding (EDG)
An EDM machine resembling a surface grinder but using a wheel made from electrode material. Can also be done with a horizontal spindle attachment (mounted on the quill of a conventional EDM machine) which has a built-in motor drive for the electrode wheel.
Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM)
A metal removal process using a series of electric sparks to erode material from a work piece under carefully controlled conditions.
The resistance of the flow of electricity through material. Measured in ohms.
The tool in the EDM process. It must be made from an electrically conductive material. Its form, or shape, is a mirror image of the finished form or shape desired in the work piece, with its dimensions adjusted to take into account the amount of overcut that occurs.
A plating action occurring at certain low wear settings which causes work piece material to build up on the electrode, causing it to increase in size.
Electrode Management Technology (EMT)
Automatic methods of replenishment, redressing, and feeding of electrodes, especially in flexible machining applications.
An electroplating process used to make metal EDM electrodes.
A normally conductive liquid or gas.
A reduction in the length of an EDM electrode occurring during EDMing. Can be given as a dimension, or as a percentage of the original usable length of the electrode.
The point at which the electrode first enters the work piece.
Material removal by the EDM process.
The point at which the electrode pieces the work piece in through hole EDM.
The third group of metallics used as EDM electrode materials. Includes all rarely used metals such as tantalum, nickel, molybdenum, etc.
Material that has flowed or diffused out of a porous body.
The unit of electrical capacitance. Used to rate the energy storing capacity of a capacitor. One farad = the capacitance of a capacitor between whose plates there appears a potential of one volt when charged by one coulomb (ampere = one coulomb/sec.).
In manufactured carbon and graphite product technology, carbonaceous particles comprising the base aggregate in an unbaked green-mix formulation.
In EDM, removing the debris from the dielectric fluid before pumping it back into the work tank or through flushing holes in the electrode or work piece.
A class of EDM graphite characterized by a particle size range from 11m to 20m.
The surface texture produced by EDMing. Usually given in min Ra (U.S.).
The final cut made with EDM on the work piece. The finer the finish desired, the longer it will take for the finish cut. Therefore, roughing cuts, done with conventional equipment or with EDM, should be planned to leave only enough material to be removed by the finish cut to gain final size and surface finish desired.
The temperature at which any flammable material will burst into flame. A factor in selecting dielectric fluid for EDM.
A property of a solid material that indicates its ability to withstand a flexural or transverse load.
Fluid level switch
An adjustable float switch that monitors the depth of the dielectric fluid in the tank.
A multipurpose box-like fixture which is clamped to the machine worktable. Primarily used when EDMing through-holes. Top and bottom surfaces must be precision ground parallel. The work piece is clamped to its top, usually over an opening that will permit an electrode to pass through the work piece without interference from the tank’s top plate. It is connected to the dielectric system and can be used for either suction flushing or pressure flushing.
Flowing dielectric through the gap to remove the debris caused by machining with EDM.
A hole through the work piece or electrode used to introduce dielectric fluid to the gap for flushing purpose.
The pressure applied to the dielectric to force it through the spark gap.
The number of cycles (on/off) completed per unit of time. Usually expressed in Hertz.
The distance between the electrode and work piece when the spark occurs.
This can be measured as two different values during one complete cycle. The voltage which can be read across the electrode/work piece gap before the spark current begins to flow is called the open gap voltage. The voltage which can be read across the gap during the spark current discharge is the working gap voltage.
An old term for EDM power supply.
In manufactured carbon and graphite product technology, a region in a carbon or graphite body that is identifiable as being derived from a particle of filler.
One of the four forms of carbon. In EDM, a material used for electrodes which has high heat resistance and transfers electric current very efficiently. It is the most popular electrode material and probably the easiest to machine.
That part of the EDM machine tool in which the quill or ram travels.
Heat-Affected Zone (HAZ)
The layer below the recast layer. This layer has been subjected to elevated temperatures that have altered the properties of the work metal.
The international term for one complete electrical wave cycle. In EDM, the unit of frequency.
Same as Roughing.
An erratic bouncing movement of the quill of an EDM machine during a cut. Causes include poor flushing conditions in the gap, servo response set for too much sensitivity, and build-up of carbon deposits on the bottom of the cavity being EDMed.
The introduction of dielectric fluid to the gap under pressure.
An external flushing method, also known as jet flushing. Fluid is directed into the gap by means of a flexible tube.
Same as Open gap voltage.
A substance which blocks the flow of electric current.
An atom or group of atoms that carries a positive or negative charge as a result of having lost or gained one or more electrons. It is ionization of the dielectric fluid that provides the conductive path for the EDM spark.
Generally accepted as a phenomenon by which the dielectric between two points on the electrode and work piece becomes electrically conductive. See Dielectric.
The time from the application of voltage until current begins to flow.
The voltage at which current flow begins across the gap.
The path of electrically conductive dielectric molecules between the two points on the electrode and work piece through which the spark current will flow.
Exhibiting properties with the same values when measured along axes in all directions. Opposite of anisotropic.
Same as surface, splash, or injection flushing. Directing the flow of dielectric fluid through a shallow blind cavity.
The result of certain settings for EDM machining which produces a very low degree of wear on the electrode. In some cases less than 1%, which is also known as no-wear.
It performs the purely mechanical functions and, along with the dielectric system and the power supply, makes up the complete EDM.
Same as Metal removal rate. The rate at which material is removed from the work piece by EDM.
The average of top and bottom overcut.
A class of EDM graphite materials characterized by a particle size from 21m to 100m, anisotropy, non-uniform performance, and high porosity.
Metal Removal Rate (MRR)
The rate at which material is removed from the work piece by EDM. In the U.S., usually expressed in cubic inches/hour (in/hr).
A non-alloyed combination of metals, such as copper tungsten.
One-millionth of a farad. See Farad.
Micron, micrometer (m)
A unit of length equal to one-millionth of a meter.
One-millionth of an inch (0.000001″).
Micro ohm (mW)
One-millionth of an ohm (0.000001 ohm).
A computer-on-a-chip. Found in all advanced EDM systems, the microprocessors provide many control functions.
One-millionth of a second (0.000001 sec.).
One thousandth of an inch (0.001″).
One thousandth of a second (0.001 sec.).
A pulse that does not produce machining due to too great a gap.
When used in EDM, a type of power supply where entire circuits are integrated on boards or modules. This type of construction provides a simple and rapid method of servicing and replacing electronic circuits in the field.
In EDM, any mechanical or electrical device which is used to indicate various operating conditions, i.e., ammeters, indicators, lights, pressure gages.
The simultaneous use of electrodes to produce multiple cavities in one or more work pieces.
Multiple lead (Multilead) power supply
A standard power supply usually has one wire lead which can be connected to the electrode or work piece and through which the total power available can be channeled. With a multilead power supply, it is possible to divide the total power available into small units, each capable of being channeled through separate wire leads connected to multiple electrodes or work pieces for production work. Or, all power can be put through a single wire lead by connecting all the individual leads into one.
Defined by POCO as a condition under which 1 unit or less of electrode is eroded to every 100 units of work piece.
Same as Open gap voltage (below).
A finish having no specific direction to its surface pattern. An EDM finish is non-directional.
Negative polarity to the electrode.
The time between sparks, measured in microseconds. Too short an off-time may result in DC arcing.
A unit of electrical resistance equal to that of a conductor in which a current of one ampere is produced by a potential of one volt.
A sealed holder for tubular electrodes through which dielectric fluid can be pumped or sucked for center hole flushing.
The duration time of the EDM spark measured in microseconds.
An electrical circuit which is not complete.
Open gap voltage
The voltage which can be read across the electrode/work piece gap before the spark current begins to flow. See Gap voltage.
Same as Average current.
An electronic imaging device which can be used to visually check the shape and voltages of pulses being generated by the EDM power supply.
The voltage and current of an EDM power supply.
Same as Overcut (below).
An EDM cavity is always larger than the electrode used to machine it. The difference between the size of the electrode and the size of the cavity (or hole) is called the overcut. When discussing or calculating overcut, be sure to specify whether you are referring to total overcut (diametral overcut) or overcut per side. Diametral overcut is most often used.
Overcut per side
One-half of the diametral overcut value. It is important to follow this procedure in designing electrodes: (1) Select surface finish settings to determine finishing cut overcut. (2) Design finishing electrode size with overcut allowance. (3) Design roughing electrode providing for overlap which will leave proper allowance for the finish machining cut to clean up the surface left by the rough cut.
(1) The area by which the electrode for the next cut exceeds the work piece cavity. (2) The difference between the rough machined hole or cavity size and the size of the electrode to be used for the next cut.
The average cross section of the solid graphite particles in a graphite system. The particle size is determined by the carbonaceous material from which the graphite is produced and the method of manufacturing. Also referred to as grain size.
The absence of electrical energy for a preset time following a discharge of electrical energy (pulse).
Pause duration (time)
Same as Off-time.
The maximum current available from each pulse from the power supply/generator.
Percent electrode wear
The volume of electrode worn away as compared to the volume of work piece worn away.
(1) An EDM electrode made using a lower quality graphite as a base material with a higher quality material as the cutting surface. Such electrodes require careful mating to insure conductivity and correct positioning. (2) An electrode that has been repaired by replacing a broken part. All cutting surfaces must be of the same material for uniform performance. (3) An electrode made from several pieces of the same quality material to obtain a bigger electrode.
A superheated, ionized gas which forms in the discharged channel due to the action of the thermoelectric force.
A large flat mounting surface affixed to the end of the quill or the ram of an EDM machine, and on which the electrodes or various electrode holding devices can be mounted. It usually has tapped holes or machined T-slots for convenience in clamping electrodes or holders.
In EDM, the designation of positive or negative electrical potential to the electrode.
EDM graphite is made of individual particles bonded together. This leaves voids or spaces between them, called pores. Larger particles mean larger pores, or spaces, between them. No graphite may be machined to tolerances closer than its average pore size.
The difference in voltage between two points of an electrical circuit.
Same as Power supply (below).
The part of the EDM system that supplies the voltage and current that causes the sparks or discharges between the electrode and work piece. It is usually housed in a cabinet separate from the machine tool and connected to it by a cable.
The forcing of dielectric up through flush holes in the work piece or down through flush holes in the electrode.
A material with a particle size of 5 microns or less.
Not related to the generation of sparks. It is a unit added to, or built into, an EDM machine which periodically causes the electrode to retract for a short period of time to aid in flushing a deep or blind cavity. Also commonly called a RAM cycler.
The discharge of a quantity of electrical energy having preset voltage and amperage and expended over a preset time.
Pulse duration (time)
Same as On-time.
This refers to the spark, not flushing. Used to set the length of on-time and off-time of the spark. On some machines, on-time and off-time can be set individually in microseconds.
Flushing that is synchronized with the pulsator of the EDM machine. When a machine is set for this mode (Systematic Coordinated Flushing), pressure flushing takes place only when the quill retracts the electrode from the cavity.
The rapid cooling of the EDMed surface by the dielectric fluid. Partially responsible for the metallurgical changes forming the recast layer and the heat-affected zone.
The moving member of an EDM machine on which the electrode or electrode holder is mounted. A cylinder working in a bearing or bushing.
The moving member of an EDM machine on which the electrode or electrode holder is mounted. A dovetail guided arrangement.
Same as Pulsator.
RC (relaxation) circuit
An outmoded EDM power supply circuit which uses capacitors to store the charge that produces the spark at the gap. The capacitor is charged through a resistor and discharged across the gap when conditions are correct (gap distance, voltage, etc.). This is the original EDM circuit and is seldom used in advanced machines.
A layer created by molten metal solidifying on the work metal surface.
A hydraulic device attached to the ram of conventional EDM providing a longitudinal reciprocating action.
This converts alternating current to direct current.
Automatic electrode replenishment.
Same as RC circuit (above).
Same as Frequency.
Same as Recast layer (above).
The technique of mounting the electrode on the machine table or flush tank and the work piece on the quill. Used in EDMing a blanking punch with female electrode.
A term used to indicate positive polarity on some machines.
RMS (Root Mean Square)
An obsolete term used in surface finish measurement.
Either an accessory mounted on the quill or ram, or a built-in machine spindle used to rotate the electrode to achieve more uniform wear and to improve flushing conditions. Its use is limited to round electrodes. Another use for the rotating spindle is in trimming the work piece with an indicator, as you would on a jig borer, for setting locations.
Roughing (hogging) cut
The mode of EDM that removes the most material in the shortest time.
The method of under sizing roughing electrodes to compensate for differences between them and the finishing electrodes.
A discharge that occurs as conductive particles are carried up the side of the electrode by the dielectric fluid.
A control switch that adjusts the response time of the servo mechanism.
The device that drives and controls the movement of the quill or ram.
Servo reaction time
The time between a signal to the servo and its physical response to the signal.
In EDM, the wear along the side walls of the electrode.
A dielectric fluid for special situations consisting mostly of the chemical polymer silicone.
A porous tungsten material which is infiltrated with silver.
A watery mixture of insoluble material and water. Used as an abrasive in ultrasonic machining.
Solid state power supply
Transistorized circuitry. See Transistor.
The forming tool in ultrasonic machining.
An electrical discharge of very short duration between two conductors.
Another name for EDM. Used primarily outside the U.S.
The distance between the electrode and the work piece when discharges are occurring.
Same as Power supply.
The amount of energy in the spark.
An upper rotating member of an EDM machine to which the electrode or electrode holder is mounted.
Multiple electrodes on a single machine electrically insulated from each other. Used with multiple lead power supplies.
Split lead power supply
Same as Multiple lead power supply.
A term for an electrical wave shape generated by a solid state power supply.
Refers to the steadiness of EDM cut. The opposite of hunting.
A multiple electrode set designed to produce a single cavity. From rougher to finisher, each electrode must have dimensions that take into account leaving sufficient metal for the last electrode to produce the required dimensions.
An electrode constructed in such a manner as to allow the roughing and finishing of a through-hole cavity in a single set up. The smaller front section is used to rough out the cavity and the larger rear portion is used for finishing.
The distance the ram/quill travels under servo control.
To pass directly from a solid state to a gaseous state. Graphite does not melt when heated at normal pressures, but passes directly into a gaseous state.
Using a vacuum to draw the contaminated dielectric away from the gap as opposed to forcing it out with pressure.
A class of EDM electrode materials with a particle size from 6m to 10m characterized by moderately high strengths, usually isotropic.
The relative roughness or smoothness of the machined surface. Usually measured in µin Ra in the U.S.
The quality of the machined surface and subsurface.
The use of nozzles or hoses to direct jets of dielectric at the cutting area to flush away the debris. Usually employed while pulsating the electrode.
Surface irregularities on a machined surface. See Finish, Surface finish.
The eroded particles or residue.
Same as Disintegrator.
A control on some early power supplies that changes spark frequency and on-time.
The dimensional difference between the .entrance and exit opening of a through-hole cavity, or between the entrance and bottom of a blind hole.
An accessory that holds and rotates an electrode as it EDMs a threaded hole into a work piece. It advances the electrode to produce the pitch of the thread desired.
An alloy of copper and tellurium.
The dielectric oil temperature at which the power is shut off.
The combined action of heat and electricity.
The use of a pre-drilled hole in the workplace to inject dielectric fluid up toward the gap by injection flushing or down from the gap by suction flushing.
An attachment allowing the electrode to be tilted in two directions.
Same as pulsator.
Timer, timing unit
A control unit that establishes the spark on- and off-times.
Total Form Machining (TFM)
An abrasive machining device capable of copying complete graphite electrodes.
A mechanical accessory used in EDM to check the accuracy of the setup and to aid in the precise location of the work piece in respect to the electrode.
A device for changing electromagnetic force into mechanical force. A loudspeaker is a transducer. In EDM, a transducer is used in ultrasonic machining of graphite, though the sound produced is too high for most human hearing.
An electronic component used as a switch to open and close with extreme speed. Replaced the vacuum tube due to its reliability, long life, and much higher switching speed.
A hollowed out or tubular electrode which is used in through-hole machining to remove a large amount of material from the solid so as to avoid pre-machining by conventional means.
A round electrode with a center hole.
A metal used in pure or near pure state as an electrode material. Melting point is 3380ºC.
A class of EDM graphite characterized by a particle size from 1µ to 5µ isotropy, uniform structure, and high strength.
Erratic or intermittent EDMing.
Same as Suction flushing.
Vacuum tube power supply
An EDM power supply which uses vacuum tubes to switch the electrical machining pulses (sparks) on and off.
An accessory used on an EDM machine to move the work piece or electrode back and forth rapidly. Employed primarily for improving flushing in blind cavities.
The tendency of a fluid to resist flow. High viscosity liquids are thicker.
An instrument that measures voltage. On an EDM machine, it measures the voltage across the gap.
The total wear of the electrode expressed in cubic inches.
A geometric display of the output of a power supply as seen on an oscilloscope.
The erosion of the electrode during the EDM process.
The volume of electrode worn away as compared to the volume of work piece material removed by EDM.
Wire EDM, wire cut
The electrode is a continuously spooling conducting wire that moves in preset patterns around the work piece.
Working gap voltage
See Gap voltage.
Any part on which EDM is being used to cut holes or cavities.
Adron Tool Corp.
W251 N5490 Business Dr. • Sussex, WI 53089 • Ph: 262-255-4433