Thursday, December 8, 2011

EDM stands for Evil Demon Magic

During my materials research time, I had the opportunity to work on the EDM, or electrical discharge machine. Seen here:
I know, it's a beast.

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.

Funny story: Once I opened to front door to the EDM while the basin was filled with water.  You know what happened...
Water spilled everywhere! Afterward, my adviser laughed and said that he could never get the door closed after he opened it. I didn't feel so stupid afterward.

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