As the brainchild of Tech Mold Inc. in Tempe, Arizona, a manufacturer of precision multi-cavity, multi-technology injection molds, the Universal Electrode Guide ensures precise EDMed small holes and eliminates the need to maintain an inventory of different wire guide sizes.
Bill Kushmaul, Tech Mold’s president, and Paul Moosbrugger, CNC wire-EDM and small-hole specialist at Tech Mold, developed the guide to speed in-house set ups and electrode diameter changes. The guide worked so well that they decided to make it available to other shops.
The adjustable guide remains fixed in position on any small-hole EDM drill, and the unit’s centerline aligns precisely with that of the machine’s spindle. It accommodates a broad range of small to large electrode diameters.
Besides doing away with having to have an inventory of different electrode guides on hand, the Universal Electrode Guide eliminates having to inspect each size guide before use, which can be time consuming. Shops also can machine multiple hole sizes in the same part with predictable accuracy since the centerline of any electrode held in the guide is always in a known location and is referenced by the machine’s X and Y axes.
An infinitely adjustable “three-jaw” style precision mechanism guides electrodes, and a lever-action adjusting device makes the quick diameter adjustments possible. Once adjustments are made, a non-distorting built-in lock secures the diameter.
The three jaws that guide the electrode employ replaceable ceramic rod-type inserts for wear resistance. However, the ceramic rods are long-lasting and, in many instances, show no signs of wear after a year of use.
Shops can easily mount the Universal Electrode Guide using convenient slotted holes provided in the main body of the guide. To ensure front-to-back parallelism to the machine’s table, a provision is built into the guide to allow for precise adjustments to be made by indicating then locking in.
Because the guide covers a wide range of sizes, once it is mounted in line with the machine’s spindle and zeroed in, any size electrode used will automatically be on the same zero point. The Universal Electrode Guide allows even an old small-hole EDM drill to accurately produce holes that are deeper and truer.