Basically, the graduate student I was working under said, "Read the operating manual." So I did!
The first words that the manual said, "'You may think that EDM stands for 'Evil Demon Magic.' But it actually stands for 'Electrical discharge machine.'" I thought this way really funny and credited the Japanese company, Sodick, for having a sense of humor in its technical manuals.
This is how an EDM works:
- A wire (for this "wire EDM") is strung in water. Don't worry, the water is de-ionized so it doesn't conduct electricity.
- A large current is passed through the wire.
- The wire, basically, melts everything in it's path (as long as it's metal)
- The water washes the melted material away.
Once a grad student told me he stuck his hand in the water to take a picture of the process... I wouldn't recommend this action, but he was living proof that the water doesn't conduct electricity.