I was trolling through Practical Machinist posts for something interesting and came across this sweet project.  This fellow has used an EDM, a mill, and a lathe to make a really nice tool height setter.  EDM is an acronym for “Electrical Discharge Machine”.  It literally uses electrical sparks to disintegrate the metal.  There are electrode EMD’s, that plunge a conductive electrode into material, and there are wire EDM’s.  Think of the latter as being a ridiculously fine and precise scroll saw.  EDM is slow, but it has the ability to carve out shapes that would be next to impossible with other methods.  They can also be used to cut extremely hard materials, such as the carbide used in this project.

A Tool Height Setter is used to measure the height of your tools so you can fill in the tool table on the CNC to adjust for that height.  Some use electronic touch sensors, and some use an indicator like this one.

Check out the link.  Here are some sample pix from the article:

Wire EDM Parts

First, use a Wire EDM to cut all the parts out.  EDM is slow, but can do things that just can’t be done any other way…

Wire EDM Cut Carbide

For example, how about wire cutting a circular touch pad out of a brazed carbide tool so your endmills would nick the tool pad?

Bearing base

Bearing base provides three points of contact so the tool setter sits flat on the machine table and is less prone to cocking if there is a chip there…

Tool Setter

The finished Tool Setter is a gorgeous piece of shopmade tooling…

Lots more pictures of the build over on PM!


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