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edm machines

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bernard towers06/04/2019 21:53:18
12 forum posts
43 photos

would like to build a EDM machine but finding information hard to come by. any assistance would be appreciated .

Michael Gilligan06/04/2019 22:04:44
15455 forum posts
668 photos

Hello Bernard

This is good: **LINK**

... That said; I bought a copy years ago, and still haven't built one blush


Alan Johnson 707/04/2019 00:29:42
83 forum posts
13 photos

Construction of an EDM was a four part series in MEW. Issues 168 to 172. I have only read it in passing, and never constructed one.... yet! Just have to finish a couple of other projects first!

Jeff Dayman07/04/2019 01:01:52
1789 forum posts
45 photos

Hi Bernard, would recommend the book "how to build an EDM" by Ben Fleming in the USA. Great reference book. I built an EDM in 2011 using his circuit in the book as a general guide. You do not need to purchase a PCB from him to make it, I did have some issues with the comaparator IC he specified not being able to withstand the current draw of some of the components I used. A friend helped design an equivalent-function circuit using very cheap but high current discrete components. It has worked just fine since. If you do end up using this circuit please contact me before buying parts and I'll give you full details of what I did and some pics and video of the EDM I built.

I would not recommend the sink EDM design published in MEW a few years ago, the one using a vibrating electrode and hand-operated capacitor terminal connections at line voltage. This design had serious electrical safety issues and vibrating electrodes is not at all necessary and ruins accuracy. It can be useful for blasting out broken taps but for precision work it is not recommended.

Chris Evans 607/04/2019 08:55:12
1627 forum posts

Plus one for not using the vibrating electrodes. I made my living in a toolroom for many years operating EDM machines. Some had the vibration setting but was a gimmick that upset the stability. Getting an EDM machine working well is all about balance of servo/flushing of debri and the correct pulse on pulse off times. I suspect a home built machine will just work on relaxation principle and not pulse?

Les Jones 107/04/2019 09:00:16
2121 forum posts
146 photos

I have built an EDM machine based on the bits of information I could find on the web about Ben Fleming's design. It is the capacitor discharge version as I could not fined enough information on his pulse version. (I was too mean to buy his books.) It works quite well.


JA07/04/2019 09:51:05
894 forum posts
50 photos

I am building Ben Fleming's second EDM machine. It is described in his book "Build a Pulse EDM machine". The book is not cheap and the electronics is even more expensive. I choose the pulse design because sensible capacitors for the resistor-capacitor set up used in his first book are hard to find.

Ben's second machine uses a voltage of around 100vdc which is switched by a MOSFET (a bank of 6 in his case) at frequencies up to about 20kHz. There is also provision to lift the electrode every ten or so seconds to flush out the debris. Everything is adjustable in the design, the front panel of the electronics box is very intimidating.

I can provide photographs etc if anyone is interested.

Michael Gilligan07/04/2019 10:22:38
15455 forum posts
668 photos
Posted by JA on 07/04/2019 09:51:05:

I can provide photographs etc if anyone is interested.


Yes please yes


JA07/04/2019 17:56:34
894 forum posts
50 photos

As requested, 3 photographs of the electronics box. The names of the controls are not stickers but an annotated photograph as a reminder to me (dither is the period of withdrawal of the electrode to allow escape of the debris).




Ben suggested using an old PC box. I had one but found its construction so complex that it became easier to build my own. The box is possibly too small but the use of 12" long metal stock allowed a quick and easy construction.

The circuitry is not complex. The power is provided by 80vAC through a full bridge rectifier. The maximum power is 650VA and is controlled by a bank of forced air cooled resistors. The switching of the power is by a MOSFET controlled by a 555 timer. Another 555 timer is used for the dither period. The electrode position is determined by comparing the discharge voltage with a required operating voltage and a minimum voltage required to prevent the electrode hitting the work. The electrode position is driven by a simple servo motor. I know there are other ways of controlling the discharge and position of the electrode but as an electronics simpleton I am happy with most of Ben's circuitry.

I have to say that the project is very much "work in progress". I have just started on the electrode head.

Michael Gilligan07/04/2019 18:19:11
15455 forum posts
668 photos

Thanks for those, JA yes

... much appreciated.


SillyOldDuffer07/04/2019 18:40:41
5612 forum posts
1154 photos

Yes, very good JA. Nicely done, thanks for sharing.


bernard towers09/04/2019 10:34:02
12 forum posts
43 photos

Thanks for all the info I will get the book from Camden and see what that looks like but after looking at the pics it looks a little bit daunting to a mechanical man with only simple electronic knowledge. Again thanks for all the info.

Roger B09/04/2019 12:20:03
95 forum posts
40 photos

There is also some information on Ron's Model Engineering web site:


If you choose 'Resources' on the left hand side followed by 'How to?' You will see a list of topics. 'Remove a Broken Tap' takes you to the pages on 'Making and Using a Basic EDM'

Best regards


Emgee09/04/2019 13:39:50
1445 forum posts
212 photos

An EDM design and build article appeared in the Strictly IC magazine many years ago, so if you have a friend with that mag collection you have another choice.


IanT09/04/2019 15:15:41
1499 forum posts
142 photos

Much as I'd like to build something as sophisticated (and impressive) as the EDM machine JA has built - I'm afraid it's never going to happen at this stage in life. However - whatever their limitations - there are much simpler designs around that I might consider building - especially for the removal of broken taps and making small 'oles-in-ard' things...

I saw this simple EDM set-up at Guildford MES in 2016 - and had a chat to the builder (sorry I did take his details but cannot find them att). As I understand it, an electromagnet pulls the anvil up until a capacitor fully charges, where upon it falls back and touches the work, thereby discharging the capacitor - and causing the required spark - the cycle then repeating ad-infinitum. A very simple concept and no complex electronics required.

I'm not sure if this is the same as one of the other EDM systems already mentioned and there may well be all sorts of limitations associated with this simplicity - but it would certainly cover most of my (admittedly) limited needs...and the work samples shown were quite impressive...



PS Sorry - image started off right way up but seems to have done a 90 degree rotation on up-load...

Simple EDM

Frances IoM09/04/2019 15:34:11
745 forum posts
26 photos
the Guildford one may be that by Maurice Fagg - on the SMEE stand? - it certainly worked on the same principle + I recall it being there in 2016 + 2017 but in a more skeletal version.
An Other09/04/2019 18:01:35
161 forum posts
1 photos

Hi, Bernard - sent you a PM.

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