Cutting tool geometry should be very much considered in micro-cutting because it has a significant effect on the topography and accuracy of the machined surface, particularly considering the uncut chip thickness is comparable to the cutting edge radius. The objective of this paper was to clarify the influence of the mechanism of the cutting tool geometry on the surface topography in the micro-milling process.
Four different cutting tools including two two-fluted end milling tools with different helix angles of 15° and 30° cutting tools, as well as two three-fluted end milling tools with different helix angles of 15° and 30° were investigated by combining theoretical modeling analysis with experimental research. The tool geometry was mathematically modeled through coordinate translation and transformation to make all three cutting edges at the cutting tool tip into the same coordinate system. Swept mechanisms, minimum uncut chip thickness, and cutting tool run-out were considered on modeling surface roughness parameters (the height of surface roughness Rz
and average surface roughness Ra
) based on the established mathematical model. A set of cutting experiments was carried out using four different shaped cutting tools. It was found that the sweeping volume of the cutting tool increases with the decrease of both the cutting tool helix angle and the flute number. Great coarse machined surface roughness and more non-uniform surface topography are generated when the sweeping volume increases. The outcome of this research should bring about new methodologies for micro-end milling tool design and manufacturing. The machined surface roughness can be improved by appropriately selecting the tool geometrical parameters.
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