Mar 17, 2023

Hackathon Wire EDM Build Really Works

If you’ve ever short-circuited a car battery, you’ve seen the pitting and damage a few sparks can cause. Smart minds realised that controlled sparks could erode metal very accurately, in a process now known as electrical discharge machining. [Tanner Beard] decided to build just such a machine for a hackathon, and it works a treat.

[Tanner]'s video explains the benefits of EDM well. Spark-based machining doesn't care about the hardness of the given material, making it ideal for working with very tough steels, for example. It's also non-contact, so the motion platform doesn't have to be built to resist huge forces.

The build was done with a low budget of just $300, and uses some smart shortcuts. Instead of an expensive mains-powered DC power supply to generate the discharge, [Tanner] just uses a powerful lithium-polymer battery with his own MOSFET board to deliver the high current needed. A nifty combination of a stepper motor and O-drive motor setup feed the discharge wire at a constant rate during the machining.

Overall, it's a neat build that shows wire EDM doesn't have to break the bank. We’ve seen other similar builds before, too. Video after the break.