New to WEDM - Suggestions?
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  1. #1
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    Default New to WEDM - Suggestions?

    Hello all,

    I have been sub'ing out a fair amount of WEDM work (also not quoting work that requires it) and I am starting to consider the idea of getting into an older machine to keep this process in house.

    The one major hurdle is, I've never run a WEDM before and I'm looking for some resources to get more familiar with it Are there any good books outlining basic operating principles, procedures, techniques, workflow, setup, etc? There is a lot less info out there on the internet compared to milling!

    Are there any specific brands or models of machines that are more forgiving for a newb like me? There seem to be a lot of used Brother, Fanuc, Mits, etc available online and I was wondering if there are any I should look closer at and any I should avoid...

    I am not looking for utmost precision (0.0005" - 0.001" is acceptable) and a working area of ~12"x12" would be ideal. Most parts are usually from sheet material (<0.100" thick), and occasional flat bar up to ~2" thick. I would hope to be able get into a capable machine for <$20k, but please tell me if I'm way off on this!

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Hi,

    Things to consider:

    Tooling can be very expensive, if you buy a $20K machine you
    could easily pay that much for good tooling - many people make
    their own.

    You will want a machine that you can still get support for locally.
    Paying for a guy to fly from LA and stay in a hotel $$$.

    For Mitsubishi machines you have to pay for an annual fee ($2,000 or so)
    before they will even talk to you about support issues.

    Brother machines were great, but brother sold their EDM line to Charmilles,
    and they no longer support the brand.

    I know nothing about the Sodick machines.

    I have an older Charmilles robofil 500F, and their local support has been great.

    Makino has some of the best machines but they are very expensive.

    Wire EDMs are very fussy about maintenance, it needs a lot and often.

    If you want to make money you will want a machine that has a good
    reliable wire threader.

    A submerged tank WEDM will the best over all, but just a jet spray will
    work just fine for what you describe your work to be.

    If you want to do fussy work (medical, aerospace, etc.) , that is sensitive to
    recaste, then you will need a machine that has a modern power generator that
    does not produce much Heat Affected Zone (HAZ). This will be most likely be found
    in a early to mid 2000s (and later)machines. These power generators are called by
    many names AC, and non electrolytic (no electrolysis)...etc.

    A book, by Bud Guitrau, The EDM Handbook, is a good place to start learning.

    The cost of expendables, like wire guides ($800 to $1000s), wire cutters, and
    carbide electrical wire contact.

    Good luck - Paul

  3. #3
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    just my 2 cents. charmilles machines have collision protection. this can be a life saver for newbies! Also,they do not charge for phone support. if machine is still supported all calls are free. im not saying others dont offer this but i KNOW Charmilles does.

  4. #4
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    Ive worked with a few different machines and the makino was a good machine but I'd say mits is the better as it's what I'm most familiar with. If you can find a mits fa10s for a decent price I'd go for it. It doesn't have touch screen but it's still easily navigable. As long as you keep up with basic maintenance especially powerfeeders and diamond guides threading will be fairly uneventful...it's not 100% fool proof though, none of them are. Consumables are wire, powerfeeders, diamond guides, resin bottles, filters, and rollers. Wire is by far the most common.

    It's an expensive hobby to get into but it can make some good money too.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by plastikdreams View Post
    Ive worked with a few different machines and the makino was a good machine but I'd say mits is the better as it's what I'm most familiar with. If you can find a mits fa10s for a decent price I'd go for it. It doesn't have touch screen but it's still easily navigable. As long as you keep up with basic maintenance especially powerfeeders and diamond guides threading will be fairly uneventful...it's not 100% fool proof though, none of them are. Consumables are wire, powerfeeders, diamond guides, resin bottles, filters, and rollers. Wire is by far the most common.

    It's an expensive hobby to get into but it can make some good money too.
    And whatever you do, have the factory rep come out at least once a year to do a pm. It's costs a bit and can take a few days but it's worth it to make sure everything is in the up and up.

    This was supposed to be an edit to my first post...oops


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