Electrical discharge machining (EDM) is one of the important non-traditional machining processes and it is widely accepted as a standard machining process in the manufacture of forming tools to produce molds and dies. Since its introduction to manufacturing industry in late 1940s, EDM became a well-known machining method. The method is based on removing material from a workpiece by means of a series of repeated electrical discharges, produced by electric pulse generators at short intervals, between an electrode (tool) and a part being machined in dielectric fluid medium. This paper is devoted to a study of the influences of EDNI parameters on surface roughness for machining of 40CrMnNiMo864 tool steel (AISI P20) which is widely used in the production of plastic mold and die. The selected EDM parameters were pulsed current (8, 16 and 24 A), pulse time (2, 3, 4, 6, 12, 24, 48 and 100 mu s) and pulse pause time (2 and 3 ps). It was observed that surface roughness of workpiece and electrode were influenced by pulsed current and pulse time, higher values of these parameters increased surface roughness. Lower current, lower pulse time and relatively higher pulse pause time produced a better surface finish. (C) 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.