EDM Basics - 3: Electrode Material
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WARNING: Machine tools present a safety hazard. Improper operation can result in severe injury. These topics are for non-laboratory study only and are not to be used in conjunction with the operation of any tool or machine described herein. Never use a machine tool without the supervision of a qualified instructor.
But what happens to the electrode? If the process just explained causes vaporization of the mold, then the electrode should vaporize also. It could lose its shape before a cavity is completed in the mold. Quite obviously then, the electrode must be made from a material that is much less effected by this process. An electrode material must be selected that does not wear down (or one the wears much more slowly). The material must be machinable and a conductor of electricity too.

Graphite is the material most often chosen for the electrode. It is easy to machine, conducts electricity, and does not wear out very quickly... it does not vaporize. However there are other materials that work well under certain conditions.

Copper, copper tungsten, tellurium copper, brass, tungsten carbide, and pure tungsten are some of the other materials that have been selected for the electrode. The choice of electrode material is an engineering endeavor based on many variables.

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label: edm, electircal discharge machining, electodes, voltage, dielectic fluids, graphite, wire edm, die-sinking, injection molding