EDM newbie looking for advice on hole making
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  1. #1
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    Post EDM newbie looking for advice on hole making

    I am looking at EDM to produce thousands of <1mm holes in 0.5mm thick stainless steel tubing. The two options I am considering are fast hole EDM drilling (one hole at a time) and sinker EDM (multiple electrode wires in a rack).

    I have been able to find very little indication as to what machining times I can expect from a fast hole driller. (Not only MRR, but the movement between holes will be significant when drilling +/-6000 holes per operation)

    Could anyone give me some idea of what to expect?

    I would appreciate any info on the cost of a fairly modern sinker and hole drilling machine.

  2. #2
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    I would wonder if you might have better luck with laser hole drilling. I think you could even find a contract house that specializes in laser machining to make some sample parts using your material or even carry out the production run without investing in equipment.

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    Hi matt33:
    I agree with jmullett; your cycle times with laser drilling will be a fraction of what they'll be with EDM.
    However, EDM may still be the better choice if you need holes without dross on the exit side or holes with a smaller HAZ.
    You can also make better, more cylindrical holes with EDM than you can with laser, although laser is getting awfully good, especially when you get up into the larger sizes (1 mm is a pretty big hole).
    If you can tolerate exit burs you may also CNC drill them quite effectively.

    But to specifically answer your question, a hole popper can make these in seconds, a good quality used sinker will cost you 40 grand, a new hole popper with an indexer will be about the same, and the popper will be maybe 3 times as fast as the sinker, but the sinker will make better holes than the popper and you can gang up the sinker as you pointed out.
    Ganging up the trode to make more than one hole at a time will allow you to put more power into the burn, but EDM still only cuts one spark at a time, so your gains don't go up as much as you think, and if you get greedy, you start to run into flushing issues that can slow you right back down.
    With a sinker, you can sometimes get away without an indexer if you can mount the tube vertically and vector a multi tipped electrode into the tube sideways.
    If you look on the Implant Mechanix website, there's an example of a tube that was slotted this way.
    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix – Design & Innovation - home
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining
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    Hey Marcus,
    Thanks for the info. I also realize that laser drilling is much better suited to this job. There are two things though that I will need to consider; cost and HAZ as you mentioned. Continuous wave (CW) and nanosecond lasers seem to leave behind a large burr and HAZ. I am also worried about marking on the far end of the tubes. On the other hand, I expect that picosecond/femtosecond lasers are very expensive...

    As the post title says, I am a newbie (actually a student intern), so I have very little idea on the costs of these machines and it seems difficult to find any estimation online.

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    Default 6-axis EDM Fast Hole Drilling

    Quote Originally Posted by matt33 View Post
    I am looking at EDM to produce thousands of <1mm holes in 0.5mm thick stainless steel tubing. The two options I am considering are fast hole EDM drilling (one hole at a time) and sinker EDM (multiple electrode wires in a rack).

    I have been able to find very little indication as to what machining times I can expect from a fast hole driller. (Not only MRR, but the movement between holes will be significant when drilling +/-6000 holes per operation)

    Could anyone give me some idea of what to expect?

    I would appreciate any info on the cost of a fairly modern sinker and hole drilling machine.
    We have 6 Beaumont 6-axis EDM Fast Hole Drills for sale at:
    Beaumont 6-axis Fast Hole EDM Drill - Poliquin Machinery, Inc.Poliquin Machinery, Inc.


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