by Kat Griffin Kat Griffin

copper impregnated tapping electrodesIn the context of the Electrical Discharge Machining (EDM) industry, tapping electrodes refer to a specific type of electrode used in EDM processes. They are used to remove material from a workpiece in order to shape it into a desired form.

In machining processes, tapping electrodes play a crucial role in creating precise and accurate threads in a variety of materials, including metals that are difficult to machine using conventional methods. This is particularly important in manufacturing industries where threaded components are commonly required, such as aerospace, automotive, and tooling.



Tapping electrodes used in EDM can be categorized based on the materials they are made of. Below are just some common types of tapping electrodes along with the materials typically used for their construction:


Graphite/Copper Graphite

Graphite tapping electrodes are widely used due to their excellent electrical conductivity and high temperature resistance. They are suitable for machining a wide range of materials, including hardened steels, aluminum, and other alloys. Graphite electrodes offer good wear resistance and can maintain their shape and dimensions during EDM operations.

Copper Tungsten

Copper tungsten is recommended for tapping tungsten carbide/carbide, titanium, and refractory metals, especially in smaller sizes where metals offer strength and maintain sharp edges. This material blends the high electrical conductivity of copper with the exceptional hardness and wear resistance of tungsten. These electrodes exhibit superior thermal conductivity, wear resistance, and compatibility with a diverse range of materials, making them ideal for precise material removal in EDM operations. 

The choice of electrode material depends on factors such as the specific machining requirements, the properties of the workpiece material, and the desired surface finish.


Factors Influencing Performance

Several factors influence tapping electrode performance in EDM, including material composition, electrical discharge parameters, workpiece material, EDM fluids, machining environment, machine setup and maintenance, and operator skill. The material from which the electrode is made affects its conductivity, hardness, and wear resistance, while its geometry impacts access to tight spaces and material removal efficiency. Proper selection of electrical discharge parameters and EDM fluids, along with stable machining conditions, is crucial for achieving optimal results. Additionally, maintaining equipment and ensuring operator proficiency are essential for maximizing tapping electrode performance and achieving high-quality machining outcomes.

Overall, considering and effectively managing these factors is essential for maximizing tapping electrode performance and achieving high-quality results in EDM and other machining operations.


Contact Us for a Quote Today

MWI provides tapping electrodes, including standard and orbital types, available in EC-15, EC-15C, and copper tungsten, which are customized to order upon request. We also offer these options in metric sizes. Check out our EDM Tapping Electrodes data sheet for more information. For tapping electrode inquiries, please reach out to us today at