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Development of rapid electrode manufacture for the EDM production of injection mould tools


The Industrial Objective of the proposed RTD is to provide SME toolmakers with an alternative manufacturing route for electrodes, used in the elctro discharge machining (EDM) of tools, suitable for around 80% of the features commonly found in tools and with a total elapse time and cost of less than 20% of that associated with conventially machined electrodes. The EDM process currently utilises electrodes milled and turned from solid copper, taking up to 25% of the total elapse time for complete tool manufacture. One alternative process, already proven on a laboratory scale, involves the electro formation of a hollow Copper electrode on to stereolithographed (Stl) negatives. However, the industrial take-up of the process has keen severly retarded by its inability to produce electrodes of sufficient ccnFlexity of form and without the requirement of specialist plating skills and plant. The Technical Objectives include the development of an enabling software package to convert 3D CAD files of the tool into Stl build files for a suite of shells into which Copper electrodes can be plated. As well as the development of a hybrid electroless/electro plating system able to Coat copper into oomplex Stl shells to form the electrode shapes common to the majority of mould tool features.

Funding Scheme

EAW - Exploratory awards


Schneider Prototyping GmbH
132 A,ringstraße
55543 Bad Kreuznach