In micro-milling, the periodically varying chip thickness, which varies with tool rotation, leads to varying degrees of minimum chip thickness effect and ploughing effect during surface generation. This results in a change of roughness in the cross-sectional direction of the micro-grooves, giving a non-uniform surface quality. However, the factors influencing surface uniformity in micro-milling are not fully understood. In the present work, the effect of the machining parameters and tool wear on surface uniformity in micro-milling is theoretically and experimentally studied. A mathematical model is proposed to predict the varying surface roughness in the cross-sectional direction of the micro-grooves, which is experimentally validated by fabricating a set of 800 µm wide micro-grooves. The theoretical and experimental results reveal that, compared to the normally adopted Ra or Sa, the relative standard deviation of roughness (RSDS) is more appropriate to evaluating surface uniformity. When machining under small feed rates and small cutting depths, the surface uniformity deteriorates as the feed rate increases and improves as the cutting depth increases. The blunt cutting edge induced by tool wear enhances the surface uniformity and increases the surface roughness at the same time. This research furthers understanding of the various cutting mechanisms in micro-milling and can be applied to the optimization of machining parameters in micro-milling.
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