by Ken BaeszlerClick image to enlargeby Ken Baeszler

Produce smaller, deeper, more precise holes with EDM drilling

Demand for smaller, deeper and more precise holes produced as fast and as consistently as possible has created a need for more advanced, new electrical discharge machine (EDM) drilling technology in holemaking operations. Here are some tips on how to select the EDM drilling system that will help your shop achieve these holemaking goals.

Look for an EDM system that is fast, reliable and simple to operate. It should have enhanced drilling capabilities for extremely small hole sizes, but at the same time maintain good surface finish quality and accuracy at greater depths. Considering some of today's applications, it's important to have a system that can drill a hole, for instance, as small as 0.006 in. (0.150 mm) in diameter, 0.250 in. deep in hardened steel using a 0.004 in. (0.101 mm) diameter electrode. However, that same system should also be able to drill one 0.040 in. (1 mm) in diameter, 6 in. (152.4 mm) deep, and do so with minute variations in size and straightness from its entrance to exit.

Most experts recommend selecting an EDM drilling system that utilizes the latest in digital generator technology. Digital generator technology gives EDM drilling machines more precise spark control. It is this functionality that also helps reduce electrode wear. For optimal productivity, the goal is to generate as many holes as possible or drill as deep as required using the least amount of electrodes. Thus, the more a generator can help reduce electrode wear the better. Plus, less wear on electrodes allows them to cut faster and more accurately by eliminating the "bullet nosing" of their electrode tips.

Seek out an EDM drilling system that can function with little, if any, operator intervention. Because they incorporate more of the design qualities of sinker-EDM technology, today's advanced EDM drilling systems are built for continuous unattended, lights-out operations.

High quality surface finish capability is a must. A growing amount of shops now use EDM drilling machines for generating finished holes–those that are actually part features–that will not require any secondary finishing operations.

Keep in mind that uneven wear increases a drilling electrode's tendency to "walk" off centre, resulting in crooked and angled holes instead of straight ones. Because they help reduce wear, digital generators thus prevent such a scenario and contribute to producing straighter holes and ones that can be held closer to size from top to bottom. For instance, a 5.905 in. (150 mm) deep hole drilled with a 0.040 in. (1 mm) electrode on a digital generator-equipped EDM system will vary in size from top to bottom, usually only 0.001 in. (0.025 mm).

Find an EDM drilling system that provides control over heat-affected zones for generating surface finishes comparable to those typically attained using a wire-type EDM. Such surface finishes are possible on conventional hole-popper machines, but achieving them would require an extremely skilled operator and a considerable amount of time. With the latest digital generator-equipped drilling systems, however, the process is consistent, much quicker and accomplished automatically.

Today's technically advanced EDM drilling systems essentially put holemaking accuracy in the technological hands of the machine tool. And while existing hole-popper systems are
quite capable of generating very small accurate holes with good surface quality, advanced EDM drilling systems dramatically increase a shop's capability to consistently produce tiny holes that are even more accurate and with higher quality surface finishes. SMT

Ken Baeszler is product manager at GF Machining Solutions, Lincolnshire, IL.


Adopting Additive

by Noelle Stapinsky

As the fourth industrial revolution ushers its way in, additive metal manufacturing is proving to be a disruptive technology 

Morphing metal: future of robotics?

Engineers at Cornell Univeristy in Ithaca, NY, have developed a hybrid material comprised of stiff metal and soft, prorous rubber foam that combines the best properties of both-stiffness when it's required and elasticity when a change of shape is needed. And, perhaps of greatest importance, the material has the ability to self-heal if damaged.

Think innovation

by Tim wilson

Mould, tool and die sector thinks outside the box for success

Emuge industry first: general purpose tap

Calling it an industry first, Emuge's MultiTap is a high performance tap designed for threading a range of materials including carbon steel, steel alloys, stainless steel, aluminum, cast iron, copper, brass and bronze.

Boeing creates lightest metal ever using additive manufacturing

Microlattice is the lightest metal ever made. At 99.99 per cent air, it's light enough to balance on top of a dandelion, while its structure makes it strong. Strength and record breaking lightness make it a potential metal for future planes and vehicles. Learn more about Boeing Innovations at

OnRobot's screwdriver EOA fits most robots

OnRobot’s latest end-of-arm “Screwdriver” allows manufacturers to automate a wide range of assembly processes quickly, easily, and flexibly. 

Why off-line measurement may work for your shop

by Tom Groff , Optical Gaging Products (OGP).

Shop Technology Magazine discusses the merits of off-line measurement with Optical Gaging Products' Tom Goff, and how manufacturers can benefit from the different systems available on the market today.

10 Ways To Reduce Weld Fumes

by Nestor Gula

A systematic approach to reducing weld fumes 

Renishaw's additive machine for industrial use

Renishaw is in the midst of developing an additive manufacturing machine designed for production machining environments.

Saving trees: The paperless factory

Going paperless on the shop floor cuts costs, reduces errors, and improves productivity

By Kip Hanson

Thick packets of work instructions, job travelers, tooling lists and part drawings are a common sight in most shops. Everyone from the receptionist to the head engineer participates in printing this small forest’s worth of paper, while operators and quality control people struggle to make heads and tails of it all. Then along comes an engineering revision or customer change request and everyone runs around like chickens with their heads cut off, swapping paperwork and redlining drawings. There has to be a better way.

A critical link

by Ethan Weikleenget

Grinding wheel flanges and personal safety

21 pallet RPS for horizontal machining centres

Doosan Machine Tools' multi-level RPS (Rotary Pallet System) works with Doosan’s NHP Series horizontal machining centres, specifically the NHP 4000 and NHP 5000.

It's time to "take back manufacturing"

Initiative looks to reverse manufacturing industry’s declining trend

by Nigel Southway

It’s now clear to many Canadians that it’s time to rescue our declining manufacturing industries. 
Holemaking Options

by Marlon Blandon

There’s more than one way to drill, thread and chamfer that hole

$6.6 M for manufacturers in southern Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontaro) announces $6.6 million funding for Guelph manufacturers

Guelph, ON, manufacturers Hammond Manufacturing Co. and Ontario Drive and Gear Ltd. will be receiving combined funding of $6.6 million following an annoucement by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The projects are expected to create or maintain up to 165 full time equivalent jobs.

Stay In Touch

twitter facebook linkedIn