The generation mechanism of crater in electrical discharge machining is analyzed with a single pulse discharge device for alloy tool steel, black alumina ceramics, cermet and cemented carbide, investigating the gap voltage, the discharge current, the shape of crater, the wear of electrode and so on. The experimental analysis makes it clear that the shape of crater has a characteristic feature for the kind of workpiece. The shape of electrode, which changes with the wear by an electric spark, has a significant effect on the shape of crater. The diameter and the depth of crater have a close relation to the discharge energy for alloy tool steel, black alumina ceramics and cermet, while those for cemented carbide are related to the discharge current. The shape factor which is the ratio of the depth to the diameter of crater is different for the work material.