How Wire EDM Works

At one time, it was expensive and inefficient to make contoured cuts through metal. Now, with the help of a modern process known as wire EDM, metal parts of any shape can be cut in a way that is cost efficient, fast and accurate. The wire EDM process is quickly becoming the “go-to” process for manufacturing businesses.

Wire EDM Explained

What is wire EDM? Wire EDM is a process that uses a metallic wire to cut a programmed contour through a material such as carbide, aluminum or steel.


In 1770, an English scientist named Joseph Priestley noticed that, under the right circumstances, electrical discharges could erode metal. A little over a century and a half later, two Russian scientists used this discovery to develop a method for using electricity to cut metal. In the 1960’s, wire EDM became commercially available for businesses. Today, this method is commonly used to cut metal for commercial purposes.

How It Works

A wire EDM machine looks like a bandsaw that has a wire for a blade. To begin the cut, the wire must cut into the metal from the side, or through a hole that is drilled into the center of the metal. The spark takes place in deionized water. The water helps cool the material being cut and also helps wash away metal as it is freed from the workpiece.

Once the cuts begin, the wire can cut at angle, or from a straight up and down position. Wire EDM cuts are directed by a computer, and are as precise as +/- 0.0001 of an inch.


Wire EDM is such a flexible process that it can be used to create nearly any shape in metal. It is most commonly used for making tight turns with total accuracy. Wire EDM is also the best process to use when the finished results need to be burr-free. Businesses use wire EDM for making cuts in difficult to slice metals.

Benefits of Wire EDM

The benefits of wire EDM are numerous.

  • Cost effective
  • Accurate
  • Fast

In addition, wire EDM is a very effective way to cut metals that might be too hard to cut via conventional methods.

Contact Custom Tool and Grinding

At Custom Tool and Grinding, we help businesses in need of metal cutting services. We cut metals for all applications and for a variety of manufacturing purposes. We use the latest technology to make cuts that are precise, burr-free and to our customer’s exact specifications. To find out more about how we can make your custom metal pieces, contact us today.