Learn about Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) and the tools available to make beautiful custom jewelry, remove broken bolts and taps, and “burn” unique shapes into your workpiece.

What is EDM? Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) is a process that uses electrical discharges from an electrode to erode an electrically conductive material. As a result, it is possible to erode or “burn” the shape of the electrode into the workpiece. If you need a square hole, (or other unique shape) in a part make a square electrode and burn it into the part. This machine is great for removing broken bolts, taps, easy outs, drills, and studs etc. from expensive work pieces!

The EDM How-To Book

NEW- Revised edition with more photo’s drawings and sources

Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM), may sound very expensive and high tech, but you can build this affordable tabletop machine from surprisingly common components, most of which are available from Radio Shack. No exotic parts or special tuning required, and no circuit boards to etch.

The basic idea is to move an electrode very close to the work piece, and repeatedly produce a spark between the two while flushing out debris with a dielectric fluid. You first create an electrode in the shape you want out of copper, brass or graphite. It is then fed slowly down into the metal workpiece while maintaining a precise spark gap. The electrical discharges blast little bits of metal away while a fluid cools and flushes away particles. This is called “Sink” or “Ram” EDM and it can produce impossible shapes in metals too hard to machine any other way, and it doesn’t create heat and ruin the temper of your workpiece.

People have called these “metal disintegrators” and this space age process can actually be done on your workbench with a machine costing a few hundred dollars.

Most people mount the Ram assembly on a mill or drill press for convenience, but there are no forces or deflections to deal with and the ram itself handles the electrode travel, so so you could use simple brackets to mount it anywhere you want, for instance on top of an engine block to remove a broken stud. This design is easier to build because it uses a simple servo motor to power the ram instead of a stepper motor and the driver circuitry that goes with it. You can build a simple ram mechanism from parts as shown, or save some time and buy an aircraft trim servo to perform that function.

This is a truly useful piece of equipment that can pay for itself quickly, you might even create a small business around it. Let your imagination run wild with this amazing process!!

* 8 1/2 x 5 1/2 format

* 155 pages

* 77 photos B/W

* 37 drawings

Additional information

Weight 1 lbs


Ben Fleming