Wire EDM Drilling

Parts made by wire EDM manufacturing are everywhere … in cars, in your laptop, in airplanes, in medical devices, even in jewelry.

That’s because wire EDM (Electrical Discharge Machining) makes it possible to cut hard, conductive materials with speed and finesse. Also known as EDM drilling, the process is used to create exceptionally fine, exceedingly small holes cleanly and accurately. The end results are used in a number of industries including automotive, military, aerospace, medical and more.

EDM has roots 250 years ago when, in 1770, English physicist Joseph Priestley first noted the erosive effect of electrical discharges. It wasn’t until 1943 when two Russian scientists harnessed and controlled that erosive electrical spark with the first EDM machine. Around the same time, in the United States three scientists developed an EDM machine for removing broken drills from aluminum castings.

By the 1960s, wire EDM machines had evolved for common use. At first, they made tool dies from hardened steel.  Uses continued growing. And, by 1976, the first CNC EDM machine was in production. In recent decades, commercial wire EDM capability has advanced substantially.

Today, sparks or electrical discharges from eight to 20,000 F are used to cut away at conductive material such as:

  • Brass
  • Bronze
  • Carbon graphite
  • Carbon steel
  • Copper
  • Hastalloy
  • Inconel
  • Kovar
  • Stainless steel
  • Titanium
  • Tungsten

Wire EDM machining works on these materials with a level of accuracy and intricacy that conventional mechanical-cutting methods cannot achieve. This machining process can cut parts requiring complex shapes, angles, tapers, and sharp internal corners. These can be cut to a dimensional tolerance of ±0.0001 inch, repeatedly and reliably. Because the charged wire “drill” never touches the workpiece, wire EDM is perfect to manufacture tiny and delicate parts as well.

With no cutting force placed on the material during the process, wire EDM introduces no residual stress. Thus, the material stays strong and maintains its mechanical properties. There is no need for additional thermal treatments, unlike other EDM machining services.


  • PRECISION: EDM is precise, capable of making cuts that match your designs within ± 0.0001”. It is also capable of drilling tiny holes that other methods can’t.
  • ACCURACY: EDM can repeatedly produce the same intricate part with the same accuracy. That reduces the need for tooling and adjustment. Thus, you have less set up and lead times.
  • FLEXIBILITY: EDM makes cuts other machining methods cannot such as tapers, square-edge internal cuts and more.
  • FINESSE: EDM cuts result in better surface finishes. There are no burrs that require additional finishing.
  • INTEGRITY: EDM creates minimal residual stress, eliminating the need for additional processes to relieve those stresses.

Request a Quote today if you’d like to know more or if you want to discuss your needs. Or, call 216-525-0920.