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Chen Wuyi Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, P.R.China Abstract: Cutting forces generated using CBN tools have been evaluated when cutting steel hardened to 45~55 HRC. Radial thrust cutting force was the largest among the three cutting force components and was most sensitive to the changes of cutting edge geometry and tool wear. The surface finish produced by CBN tools was compatible with the results of grinding and was affected by cutting speed, tool wear and plastic behaviour of the workpiece material.


ap BUE f Fx Fxy Fy Fz Kr r v VBB

depth of cut (DOC) built-up-edge feed rate feed force vector sum of Fx and Fy radial thrust force tangential cutting force major cutting edge angle tool nose radius cutting speed width of flank wear


Machining of hardened steel using advanced tool materials, such as CBN, has certain advantages over the traditional cutting-hardening-grinding practice in terms of improved fatigue strength of the machined parts, increased productivity and reduced energy consumption [1, 2, 3]. Although CBN tools offer excellent performance on fully hardened steels, the results on steels of medium hardness have been challenged by other members of the tooling family, e.g. ceramic tools or even some new carbides. In this paper the performance of CBN tools is investigated when machining steel hardened to 45 - 55 HRC. Since CBN tools are normally used in finishing operation and the cutting regime employed is

likely to generate large radial thrust force which may cause chatter and deteriorate machining quality, understanding the changing patterns of cutting forces and surface finish is therefore important.




The cutting tools used were high concentration CBN compacts, referred to in this paper as CBN 1 and CBN 2. The materials and geometric parameters of the tool inserts are detailed in Table 1. The workpiece material used in the tests was hardened GB699-88 55 steel hardened to 45~55 HRC. The compositions of the workpiece material are shown in Table 2.


Experimental procedure

Multivariate tests were performed to measure cutting forces and machined surface roughness. The operating parameters were v = 56 ~ 182 m/min, f = 0.08 ~ 0.31 mm/rev and ap = 0.025 ~ 0.1 mm. In addition, the tools with chamfered/unchamfered cutting edge and with different tool nose geometry were used in certain tests. All tests were conducted dry under continuous turning conditions.



3.1 Cutting forces


Cutting force components

Cutting forces can be resolved into three components: feed force (Fx), radial thrust force (Fy) and tangential cutting force (Fz). Usually the tangential cutting force is the largest of the three components, though in finishing the radial thrust force is often larger, see Figures 1 ~ 3, while the feed force is minimal. This arrangement in finishing can be explained by studying the particular cutting regime and tool geometry used in the tests. From the tool geometry and the cutting conditions outlined in section 2.2, it is clear that the depths of cut (0.025~0.10 mm) are far smaller than the nose radii of the tools (0.3~1.2 mm). Under such conditions the tool nose, i.e. the curved part of the cutting edge, performs the whole cutting job, thus the acting cutting edge angle varies along the tool-work contact arc of the tool nose. The largest value of the angle appears at the position where the cutting edge meets the original work part surface as in Figure 4. The maximum cutting edge angle can be obtained from:-

Kr = arccos
Where Kr is the cutting edge angle,
r is the tool nose radius, ap is the depth of cut.

r a p r


If r = 1 mm, ap = 0.025 mm, then Kr = 128'. Such a small cutting edge angle is seldom used in metal cutting, moreover, if considering the average value along the tool-work contact arc the angle is even smaller. As the cutting edge angle decreases the horizontal component of the cutting force Fxy will

alter direction clockwise, see Figure 5. As a result, Fy will increase whereas Fx will decrease. Fz will also increase but to a much less extent [4]. Eventually Fy will surpass Fz, and Fx will reduce to a negligible quantity.

The increase in Fy can lead to instability through vibration. From this point of view the tool nose radius should be kept as small as possible. This is not ideal however in respect of good surface finish. In addition, this may also cause temperature concentration at the tool nose and increase the likelihood of spalling, resulting in a short tool life.


Cutting regime vs cutting forces

With an increase of cutting speed both the radial thrust force and the tangential cutting force showed a decrease, Figure 1. This is a standard effect when cutting most metals with carbide tools. Trent [5] attributed the phenomenon in part to the softening of the workpiece material at high temperature and in part to a decrease in tool-chip contact area owing to a thinner chip.

When the feed rate was increased the forces also increased, but the radial thrust forces generated by CBN 1 tools, Figure 1, appeared not as sensitive to the change as those produced by CBN 2 tools, Figure 2.

Depth of cut seemed to influence cutting forces more significantly than cutting speed and feed rate. In fact, the feed force (Fx) showed visible changes only when increasing DOC. Substituting the tool nose radius used, r = 1.2 mm, in the cutting force tests into Eqn.1, it can be seen that when the depth of

cut increases from 0.025 mm to 0.1 mm, as in Figure 1, the maximum cutting edge angle increases from 113' to 233'. This is a major reason for Fx to increase, as illustrated in Figure 5.



Edge geometry and cutting forces

Chamfered and unchamfered CBN inserts were used in the cutting force tests. It can be seen from Figures 1 to 3 that all three force components generated by the chamfered tools were greater than those recorded when using the unchamfered ones. The radial thrust force was affected the most. On the chamfered tools, Fy was doubled or even tripled yet the increase in Fz was only about 10% - 50%. There are other observations that may also be related to geometric parameters. In the cutting force tests, CBN 2 inserts were ground to different nose radii yet were tested under otherwise identical cutting conditions. It can be seen from Figure 3 that as the nose radius increases from 0.3 mm to 1 mm, Fy increases by about 30%, whereas the changes in Fx and Fz are negligible. This phenomena can be explained using Eqn.1. When the nose radius changes from 0.3 mm to 1 mm, for a depth of cut of 0.1 mm, the maximum cutting edge angle decreases from 48 to 26. Such change may turn the horizontal component of the cutting force (Fxy in Figure 5) clockwise, then the radial component of the cutting force increases.

3.1.4 Influences of tool wear on the cutting forces

It can be seen in Figure 4 that tool wear had a negligible influence on feed force and tangential cutting force, however the radial thrust force showed a 90% - 150% increase when the wear land VBB had an increment of about 0.18 mm.

Because the tool nose radius is much larger than the depth of cut, the flank wear land may almost be parallel to the feed direction, thus the force normal to the flank wear land will be approximately in the direction of the y axis. Meanwhile the friction force on the flank wear land is always in the direction of the z axis. The fact that Fz changes only slightly while Fy increases dramatically seems to indicate that either the increase of the normal force on the flank wear land does not lead to the increase of friction


force, or the friction force on the flank face is too small to have significant influence on the total force in the z direction.

3.2 Surface roughness

3.2.1 Hardness vs roughness

The majority of Ra data collected during the tests were summarised by using histograms, see Figures 6. The horizontal axis of the graphs represents the observed roughness readings and the vertical axis gives the frequency of the readings. The graphs are able to show the variations of surface roughness with the changing workpiece hardness.

From Figures 6, it is evident that the harder the workpiece material, the lower is the surface roughness obtained for a given set of operating parameters. This phenomenon may be explained by a finding presented by Usui [6].

In orthogonal cutting, the material flow is mainly two dimensional, on a plane normal to the cutting edge. The deformation in the third direction, i.e. the direction parallel to the cutting edge, is usually disregarded. However this deformation does exist and causes slight lateral plastic flow of the workpiece material in the region adjacent to the two free surfaces, e.g. the internal and external surfaces if a thin wall tube is used as the workpiece when conducting orthogonal cutting on a lathe. When there is only one free surface as in turning a solid bar, the lateral flow on the constrained side may increase the peak-to- valley height of the machined surface profile as in Figure 7. By increasing the workpiece hardness, the plasticity of the workpiece material is reduced and so is the level of the lateral plastic flow. As a result the surface roughness becomes lower.


3.2.2 Influence of cutting regime

Surface finish was shown to be improved by increasing cutting speed, Figure 8, though the improvement was very limited. Producing a better surface finish at higher cutting speed is not something unusual in metal cutting, but the conventional explanations are usually related to BUE [4]. That is, the formation of built-up-edge is favoured in a certain range of cutting speed. By increasing cutting speed beyond this region, BUE will be eliminated and as a result the surface finish will improve. When hardened steel was machined under present cutting conditions. the cutting speeds adopted were higher than that favouring BUE formation [5]. Indeed BUE was not apparently observed even at the lowest speed of 56.5 m/min. reasons are given below:Therefore the phenomenon needs further explanation. Two possible

According to Liu [7], the properties of metals are influenced by the deformation velocity. The higher the velocity, the less significant the plastic behaviour will be. Based on the reasoning in section 3.2.1, the lateral plastic flow of the workpiece material along the cutting edge direction may increase the peak-to-valley height of the surface irregularity. If the material presents less plasticity by increasing cutting speed and hence deformation velocity, the surface finish can be improved as a result of less significant lateral plastic flow and thus less additional increase of the peak-to-valley height of the machined surface roughness.

The second possible reason is based on SEM observations. At low cutting speed grooves developed on the flank wear land, Figure 9. When such cutting edge is engaged with a workpiece, the defects will in part be copied on to the newly generated surface. In any event it is likely that the surface will be rough. With an increase in cutting speed the grooves will gradually be reduced, thus the cutting edge and wear land will become smoother, see Figure 10, as will the workpiece surface. The influence of wear land grooves on surface roughness was also observed by Solaja [8], Ansell and Taylor [9]. They


demonstrated that with the development of the grooves the surface finish deteriorated.

The roughness increases with increases in feed rate, see Figure 11, but the trend is less significant for the tools with large nose radius. A recommendation is therefore made to the tool users that if the inserts of 1 mm nose radii are used, feed rates as large as 0.3mm/rev may be used in order to promote productivity when finishing without significant deterioration of surface roughness. However low

DOC should be used in order to reduce the tendency to chatter.

The DOC has little direct influence on the surface roughness, however with increases in DOC, chatter may result causing degradation of the workpiece surface. Therefore if the tool-work system is not very rigid, such as in cutting slender parts, very fine DOC should be employed to avoid chatter. In this way very good surface finishes can be obtained. For example, when a DOC of 0.025 mm and feed rate of 0.2 mm/rev were employed, a roughness of Ra = 0.22 m was achieved using CBN 1 inserts, which is compatible with grinding.

3.2.3 Influences of tool wear

As mentioned in the last section, large surface roughness values produced at low cutting speed probably resulted in part from the grooves on the wear scars of the tools. It can be seen from Figure 12 that the roughness is also associated with the width of the flank wear land. The relationship may be explained as follows:-

When a new insert starts to work, the machined surface is determined, for a given feed rate, by the geometry of the fresh tool edge. If the DOC is far smaller than the nose radius, then the principal geometric parameter is only the nose radius. As the tool wears however, the round corner becomes flatter, in other words the nose radius increases substantially. As a result the machined surface finish


improves. With the development of excessive flank wear however, increased cutting force and temperature may destabilize the machining process and the surface quality is degraded.


When finish cutting of hardened steel radial thrust force (Fy) became the largest among the three cutting force components and was most sensitive to the changes of cutting edge chamfer, tool nose radius and flank wear. Although an unchamfered tool with small nose radius generated low Fy and hence reduced the tendency to chatter, such geometry decreased tool life.

Lateral plastic flow of the workpiece material in front of a cutting edge increased roughness of machined surfaces. Therefore the harder, and hence less plastic, the workpiece material, the better the surface finish.

Surface roughness could be improved by increasing cutting speed. Two possible reasons are: (i) workpiece material presents less plastic behaviour at higher deformation velocity and (ii) flank wear scar becomes smoother at higher cutting speed.

Better surface finish could be produced using the tool with certain degree of tool wear, which increased the tool nose radius. Excessive tool wear however resulted rough surface..


The authors would like to thank General Electric Co, USA, Shanxi Natural Science Foundation PRC and Taiyuan Heavy Machinery Plant, PRC for funding the work.



Y.Matsumoto, et al; Effect of machining process on the fatigue strength of hardened AISI3040 steel, Trans. ASME. Journal of Engineering for Industry, May 1991, Vol 113, P154-159.


A.A.Panov; Intensifying components machining by means of tools provided with synthetic superhard materials and ceramics, Soviet Engineering Research, V9 (1989) n11 P45-49.


N.G.Boim and I.N.Sokolov; The use of super-hard material and ceramic cutting tools in machine tool construction, Soviet Engineering Research, V4 (1984) n7 P55-56.


South China Institute of Technology (editor); Principles of Metal Cutting and Design of Cutting Tools (in Chinese), V1, Shanghai Science and Technology Press, 1979.

5. 6.

E.M.Trent; Metal Cutting (3rd edition), Butterworth- Heinemann Ltd, 1991. E.Usui; The Principles of Cutting and Grinding (Chinese version translated from Japanese by X.Gao and D.Liu), Machinery Industry Press, 1982.

7. 8.

H.Liu; Mechanics of Materials (in Chinese), The People's Education Press, 1979. V.Solaja; Wear of carbide tools and surface finish generated in finish turning of steel, Wear, V2 (1958/59) P40-58.


C.T.Ansell and J.Taylor; the surface finishing properties of Proc. 3rd Int. MTDR Conf. 1962,

carbide and ceramic cutting tools,

Figure 1 Cutting forces vs cutting regime and edge chamfer using CBN1. (a) f = 0.15 mm/rev. ap = 0.05 mm (b) v = 95 m/min, ap = 0.05 mm (c) v = 95 m/min, f = 0.15 mm/rev.

Figure 2 Cutting forces vs feed rate and tool nose radius using CBN2. v = 85 m/min, ap = 0.1 mm

Figure 3 Cutting forces vs tool wear and edge chamfer with CBN1. v = 95 m/min, f = 0.15 mm/rev. ap = 0.05 mm

Figure 4 The maximum cutting edge angle with a large tool nose radius and small depth of cut

Figure 5 The influence of cutting edge angle on the direction of Fxy

Figure 6 Surface roughness vs workpiece hardness (a) By CBN1 tools (b) By CBN2 tools
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Figure 7 Additional increase of surface roughness caused by lateral plastic flow

Figure 8 Surface roughness vs cutting speed and tool geometry with CBN1 f = 0.1 mm/rev. ap = 0.1 mm

Figure 9 Wear scar of CBN 1 tool v= 82.5 m/min, f = 0.2 mm/rev, ap = 0.025 mm

Figure 10 Wear scar of CBN1 tool v = 145 m/min, f = 0.2 mm/rev, ap = 0.025 mm.

Figure 11 Surface roughness vs feed rate and tool nose radius v = 85 m/min, ap = 0.1 mm

Figure 12 Surface roughness vs tool wear 1. v= 82.5 m/min, f = 0.2 mm/rev, ap = 0.025 mm 2. v= 121 m/min, f = 0.1 mm/rev, ap = 0.1 mm


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Table 1 The tool inserts used in the tests

Tools Material

CBN 1 CBN>90vol% metallic binder grain size 3m

CBN 2 CBN>90vol% +Co,Fe,W grain size 50 100 m 75

Major cutting edge angle()

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Orthogonal rake angle() Clearance angle() Inclination angle () Nose radius (mm) Chamfer

-7 7 -5 1.2 0/0.5mm 10

-7 7 -5 0.3 0

(1) Because the depth of cut was far smaller than the nose radius, the major cutting edge angle was not practically functional.

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Figure 7

Figure 8

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X60 Figure 9


X60 Figure 10


Figure 11

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1 2

Figure 12

International Journal of Machine Tools & Manufacture, 2000, 40 (3), 455-466, EI

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