Sinker EDM vs Wire EDM – Which EDM Technique is Best for your Project

When it comes to electrical discharge machining (EDM), you can choose either sinker or wire technology. This guide will help you choose the best EDM technology for your project – Let’s dive right in:

What is a Sinker EDM?

This is a fabrication mechanism that relies on electrical conduction to create various designs. During this procedure pieces of the selected material are gradually removed using an electrode that sinks into the material and erodes it. Electrodes applied in this procedure are typically designed using copper or graphite.

Sinker EDM

Sinker EDM

What is a Wire EDM?

This is a formation process that involves shaping different materials with the aid of a wire. The wires used in this production procedure are electrically conductive and are suitable for materials that are also conductive. This procedure does not require any direct exposure between the wire and the material being worked on.

Wire EDM

Wire EDM

Advantages of sinker EDM vs wire EDM

These methods have strong points that make them better suited for their different applications. You should therefore keep in mind the different benefits when selecting the method most appropriate for you. The advantages include;

Advantages of Sinker EDM

  • This method is ideal for your more complex applications as it has an elevated precision that can carve out even the most intricate details in parts.
  • If your applications require the designing of blind gaps as well as unsymmetrical shapes.
  • This method does not rely on tool strength in relation to the strength of the material during the production process instead relies on the conductivity of the tool.
  • This method is very versatile allowing you to apply It to various materials and applications.
  • The parts produced are not only very precise they are also uniform making this process ideal for mass production of a part with no irregularities.
  • The lack of cutting tools prolongs the life span of the available tool as there is little to no risk of wear. It also makes it easy to maintain the machine while saving the cost of production.
  • Parts produced using this method have a much finer finish on their surfaces eliminating the need for further finishing without sacrificing on quality.
  • This method offers a shorter lead time and reduced expenditure given its enhanced efficiency in production.

Advantages of Wire EDM

  • This process utilizes simple tools that are easy to use which makes it very cost effective.
  • The procedure has an allowance for increased levels of tolerance which enhances its accuracy as well as increases its precision. It offers very low tolerance levels
  • It affords you fine finishing for your products which increases the quality of your product while saving your cost of production that would have been utilized for the secondary finishing process.
  • This method is also suitable for producing highly complex parts allowing you to apply it to applications involving intricate design.
  • Installation of equipment involved in this process is very simple as there are a few fixtures involved in the installation procedure.
  • This equipment is also equipped with the ability to thread on its own which results in an automated and continuous process that minimizes your downtime.
  • Parts produced are often precise with no deformations or any other forms of distortion.



As in all equipment and production processes, there are some limitations that you are likely to encounter when using either one of these methods. These limitations also serve as a guideline for selecting the most suitable method for you. Limitations that are likely to occur in these methods include;

Limitations of Sinker EDM

  • This method is slow-moving compared to others as it functions by steadily subtracting minute amounts of material.
  • Its cost of operations is elevated because of its high energy consumption during the erosion process.
  • The process is only suitable for materials that are conductive which limits its field of applications.

Limitations of Wire EDM

  • The materials that can be utilized in this procedure are limited to only conductive materials
  • It is a relatively slow process when compared to other alternatives.
  • The wire used in this procedure is highly expendable and is replaced by utilization which increases the cost of production.

Comparing Working Principle of Sinker EDM and Wire EDM

Sinker EDM

This variation functions by immersing the material to be used in a fluid with dielectric properties that are fitted with systems that conduct circulation and filtration. The electrode used for the chiseling process is then placed on top of the material without establishing physical contact. High-frequency bursts of currents are the dispensed which allows you to shape the material through erosion.

Wire EDM

This variation utilizes a CNC that is used to observe the wire used in the procedure. The material used is also immersed into the dielectric fluid which allows the procedure to work without any direct physical interactions. Managed rapid pulses of electricity are utilized in eroding the unwanted portions in the shaping process.

Components of Sinker EDM and Wire EDM

These components may differ from one brand to another with some manufacturers incorporating different parts to enhance its functionality some of the main components include

Components of Sinker EDM

  • Power supply
  • Servomechanism
  • Dielectric fluid
  • Electrode
  • Workpiece
  • Dielectric oil reservoir
  • Pump and filter system.
  • Chiller system

Components of Wire EDM

  • Wire electrode
  • Workpiece
  • Dielectric fluid
  • Power supply
  • CNC system
  • Servo system
  • Spools
  • Chiller system


These electrical discharge machining variations both feature various components and working procedures that make them suitable for various applications. It is vital that you keep in mind all the benefits and limitations of each variation. This will allow you to make more informed choices for application and allow you to choose a method that will cater to your requirements.

Applications of Sinker EDM

  • Aerospace and defense industries
  • Medical device manufacturing
  • Automotive industry
  • Electronics industry
  • Tool and die manufacturing
  • Jewelry Manufacturing

Applications of Wire EDM

  • Automotive industry
  • Medical industry
  • Aerospace industry
  • Tool and die manufacturing
  • Jewelry manufacturing
  • Prototyping and concept builds


Understanding the benefits, advantages, and working principles of both these methods offers you more information to allow you to make the best decision for your applications. The applications will also help you determine the category that best suits your application. This is key as selecting a method that is not suited for your application will result in losses.

More Resources:


Electrical Discharge Machining – Source: WIKIPEDIA