How to Know if Sinker EDM is Right for Your Machining Needs

November 30, 2022 John Harvey

sinker EDM

For manufacturers that need parts formed with cavities or specialized shapes, electrical discharge machining (EDM) is a valuable tool. Whereas traditional machining methods such as CNC milling are best for more conventional parts, or those made from softer materials, EDM helps manufacturers execute precise machining on hard materials and create custom features that simply can’t be achieved by more traditional methods.

Sinker EDM — one of three common methods of EDM that also include wire EDM and hole-popper EDM — is the best method for creating parts that don’t require any secondary finishing. This not only results in more durable tooling with an increased ROI over the service life of the tool, but it also helps boost your productivity and growth.

Is sinker EDM right for your machining needs? To help you decide, let’s look at how sinker EDM works, the benefits of sinker EDM, and why partnering with Header can help you engineer better tooling.

How does Sinker EDM work?

Sinker EDM uses an electrode to erode or burn precise features in a workpiece. The highly precise nature of this process allows for features that cannot be achieved with wire and hole-popper EDM, and it also creates a piece with smooth transitions between different features without the need for any additional finishing or blending.

With sinker EDM, the electrode is submerged in dielectric fluid, and a series of electrical discharges (sparks) then removes the desired amount of material from the workpiece. This creates the desired shape the manufacturer needs to create the finished tooling.

The use of the dielectric fluid serves two important functions in sinker EDM. First, the fluid helps to flush away any debris that results from the eroding process, which helps keep the workspace clean and uncontaminated. Second, the fluid also helps keep the working area at a specified, consistent temperature to help prevent the workpiece from expanding or shrinking due to fluctuations in ambient temperature. This ensures the features being eroded are to the dimensions that are desired.

With the power to achieve very particular customer specifications and the ability to create detailed burns, sinker EDM is ideal for use in applications that require small or highly customizable features, or those where the machining of sharp corners are critical to quality tooling.

What Are the Benefits of Sinker EDM?

Because sinker EDM is such a precise form of machining, it is best for prototyping products in a variety of applications, particularly those that require custom tooling or those used in harsh environmental conditions where durability is of the utmost priority. As such, sinker EDM provides a number of key benefits and advantages for manufacturers, including:

  • Reducing the likelihood of machine downtime from using parts that are not formed correctly or to spec
  • Decreasing your overall tool costs as a result of having to replace unreliable or faulty tooling
  • Virtually eliminating the need for blending to ensure smooth transitions between burns on machined part
  • Avoiding premature part breakage, which can increase maintenance intervals and put undue stress on internal tool rooms

Plus, sinker EDM also has the power to machine extremely hard materials such as steel and carbide, both of which are critical for use in a number of large industries like automotive and aerospace.

Is Sinker EDM Right for You?
Header Can Help…

Sinker EDM is a complex, highly technical machining method that requires the right blend of technology and craftsmanship to ensure a quality final product. Header has the state-of-the-art sinker EDM machines and field-proven experience to help manufacturers get the precise, detailed tooling they need to grow their business.

Header’s new sinker EDM machines not only help you reduce lead times, but they also help provide superior precision with small features like angles or corners; in fact, our EDM specialists can machine a variety of parts ranging in size from .040” in diameter to over 20" in diameter.

In addition, our cutting-edge EDM manufacturing processes provide surface finish control without compromising structural integrity for a durable final product that is engineered for a long service life. Partnering with Header will provide you the ability to meet the demands of an ever-evolving manufacturing landscape with an eye toward reducing costs and increasing productivity.

Learn more about Header’s EDM capabilities, or contact us today to learn how we can help with your project.

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