Wire EDM Cutting vs Plasma Cutters

When looking into whether to use Wire EDM cutting or Plasma Cutting for your next job, it is important to know your specific needs. Wire EDM and Plasma cutting do not have much in common. Each process offers different outcomes depending on the materials being cut.

For instance, Wire EDM has ultra-high accuracy for cutting metals, but a Plasma cutter may be an option when accuracy is not vital. Overall, the choice between Wire EDM and Plasma depends on exactly what you are looking for. Below is the comparison of the two types of cutting. This will help you determine which cutting process will best fit your needs.

Plasma Cutting Overview

Plasma cutting is a process in which materials, such as primary metals, are cut by means of an accelerated jet of hot plasma. Materials that are usually cut with a plasma torch include aluminum, steel, stainless steel, brass, and copper to name a few.

A plasma cutting torch uses a copper nozzle to compress a stream of gas with an arc running through it. That arc hops from an electrode inside the torch to another object, this most usually is the material being cut. This can be called a transferred arc.

Some systems use a non-transferred arc in which it hops from the electrode backwards into the nozzle. These kinds are not used for cutting, however. As a result, Plasma cutting is used for materials that are conductive, such as steel, stainless steel, and aluminum.

One of the benefits of Plasma cutting is it keeps the materials cool even though it operates at high temperatures. It prevents the materials being cut from warping and from damage to paint or any other coatings that might be on the metal being cut.

Plasma cutting can also be the more cost-effective option depending on the job. It is generally less expensive than other types of cutting.

One of the serious downsides to Plasma cutting is that it is not very accurate. When making a cut, it can be +/-0.010” which is not very precise compared to Wire EDM cutting which is +/-0.0001”.

A Little More About Wire EDM Cutting

As you probably know by now, Wire EDM stands for wire electrical discharge machine. It is a very precise method utilized to cut almost any electrically conductive material.

Materials are cut when an electrical discharge is emitted between the wire and the piece being cut. The electrically charged wire never touches the material. This allows the cutting of very small/delicate parts. Unlike Plasma cutting, Wire EDM cutting is perfect for intricate and accurate cutting.

Plasma Cutting vs Wire EDM

As you can see, there are many differences between Plasma cutting and Wire EDM cutting. Although Plasma cutting can be slightly cheaper than Wire EDM, it is important to know your specific needs for the job you are trying to complete. Unlike Plasma cutting, Wire EDM cutting is very precise and it does not give off noxious fumes when it is in use. That makes it the safer option.

Whether you choose Plasma or Wire EDM for your metal cutting project, it is important to make sure you plan enough time to get your job done safely and efficiently. By knowing your cutting options, their risks and benefits, as well as the needs of your project, you can make an educated decision in choosing the most appropriate metal cutting process for your project.

Here at CAM Tech, we would enjoy the opportunity to demonstrate our capabilities, providing you with the most affordable and accurate option available. Please call us at 262-679-8004 to discuss your production needs.