Vancouver Wire EDM
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Vancouver Tel: 604-899-8977 Fax: 604-899-0959

How does does a wire EDM work?

Wire EDM machines use a thin metal wire, ours are copper, to push electrons out of the way. The wire never actually touches the material. In order to cut, we need to cut through the material that we are cutting, much like a cheese wire works its way through a piece of cheese. The EDM wire works in anything conductive. . We can either enter from the side or from a thru-hole. Our machine is self threading, allowing us to cut multple parts without an operator manually rethreading the wire for each part. In order to keep the wire from burning up, one of our machines continuously flushes dialectric fluid along the wire, the other machine is submerged, in both cases removing cut material and keeping the wire from disintegrating as it works its way through the job.

How does a plunge EDM work?

Plunge EDM machines, also know as ram EDM or spark drills, burn the material from one side, using an electrode that pushes the material out of the way as it works its way into the block of material. Unlike a wire EDM, plunge EDMs can start on one side of the material and burn their way through it. They are therefore ideal for blind holes. The shape of the hole burnt by the EDM is determined by the shape of the electrode burning the hole. The electrode is fixed, and as with a wire EDM, continuously flushed with dialectric fluid. If one uses an electrode with a square cross section, one will make a square hole. The working end of the electrode can also have 3D shape, allowing tapers, concave or convex surfaces to be burnt into the material.

Do you have a hole popper to make small holes in hard materials?

Yes, we have an EMD hole popper to make very small holes, down to .4mm. We also have small hole capability on our plunge EDM, by using a rotobore attachment. While not technically an EDM hole popper, the rotobore does allow us to drill small deep holes and large deep holes, though not quite as fast as with a hole popper. With a rotobore, we can still drill blind holes and through holes in material like carbide up to 6" thick very competitively.

How thin a line can you cut with a wire EDM?

Our typical working wire is a .010" wire, and the electric field cuts an additional .001" outside of the wire, so we can cut a .012" slot without retooling. For special orders, we can retool to .004" wire, allowing for a slot of .006".

How accurate is a wire EDM?

We can cut to .002" accuracy, less if necessary. The level of accuracy attainable on a first pass with vary with the material and thickness of the material being cut.

Additional questions? Call us at 866-379-8625 or e-mail us at info at

Where do you ship to?

In Canada, we do a lot of CNC machining and EDM work for British Columbia and Alberta, including in the North of these provinces: Fort St John, Fort Mc Murray, Prince Rupert, Kamloops. We also have done a lot of CNC machining for clients in the US, in the Seattle area in Washington State, in Oregon and in California. We will ship anywhere in the US and can typically offer ground same day or next day service to Washington State and Oregon. Next day service to Idaho, Montana, California and most of the Northern midwest.

Do you cut gears?

Yes, we cut all types of gears, up to OD 24". We have 3 fellows gear shapers for works up to 24", one small Fellow gear shaper that works for small to medium pieces, 3 Newark gear hobbers and a P & W gear slotter. The wire EDM also works for cutting key ways and it works especially well for cutting high precision keyways in hardened metal. The wire EDM also works for cutting bevel gears.

As a designer, engineer or purchaser, how can I benefit from using wire EDM?

The benefits of wire EDM can be increased by designing your parts and your purchasing to take advantage of the unique benefits that wire EDM offers. Likewise, parts designed without taking advantage of these benefits or purchased without full information will not be reap all the potential gains that this manufacturing process offers. What designers, engineers and purchasers should know about wire EDM.

As a machinist, what should I know about preparing work pieces for wire EDM?

Because we cut with a wire on multiple axes, machinists sending us workpieces to cut need to be aware of our requirements and limitations for holding material. Our cheatsheet for machinists will help you prepare your workpiece to put work on our machine.

How do I determine when to use Wire EDM, Laser, Waterjet, Plasma or Punching for thin flat parts?

Consult our Thin Flat Parts tipsheet to determine which cutting process will work best for your thin flat parts. Thin Flat Parts TipSheet.
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