Quality is Key: Drilling Electrodes and the EDM Drilling Process

Originally published at: Quality is Key: Drilling Electrodes and the EDM Drilling Process | EDM Proud

Physical variables of EDM drilling electrodes (fast hole tubes) can have a significant impact on process and performance. Oftentimes, these are only discovered when it’s too late, i.e., during machine operation. But it is critical for a successful EDM Drilling operation to understand these variables, how they impact results and quality and how to address them before they become an issue.

Typically, EDM tube electrodes are purchased based on price. After all, brass is brass, and copper is copper — or is it?

Most fast hole tubes that are purchased on a day-by-day basis by EDM shops are not qualified and can vary significantly from batch to batch. The resulting performance issues are not discovered until the hole-popper/EDM Drill operation begins. They can result in both quality issues and manufacturing delays, certainly not aspects any shop wants to face.

But how can an operator or shop ensure the quality of a particular vendor or tube electrode? This is a very detailed topic but below are some key aspects to consider:

  • The material composition of the electrode tube
  • Variations in the outside diameter of the electrode tube
  • Variations in the inside diameter of the tube electrode
  • Straightness of the electrode tube
  • Vendor consistency

Ready to dive even deeper into assessing performance and quality of tube electrodes? Come back in two weeks when we go through each of these key aspects in depth in our drilling electrode checklist.