This study describes the use of ultrasonic-assisted end milling to improve the quality of the machined surface of hard Stavax (modified AISI 420) mold steel and to reduce the amount of work involved in the final polishing process. The effects of input voltage, the stretch length and cutter holding force on the amplitude of the ultrasonic vibration used were measured. The effect of ultrasonic frequency (25 and 50 kHz) and amplitude (0, 2.20 and 3.68 μm) as well as the effect of the rake angle (6° and −6°) and the cutter helix angle (25°, 35° and 45°) on tool wear and quality of the workpiece surface finish were also investigated. It was found that the ultrasonic amplitude increased with cutter stretch length and input voltage, as expected. The amplitude remained constant when the cutter holding force exceeded 15 N. The experimental results showed that the ultrasonic amplitude had an optimum value with respect to surface finish. However, large amplitude ultrasonics did not necessarily improve quality. Furthermore, the cutters used for ultrasonic-assisted milling show less wear than those used for normal milling. It was also found that a positive rake angle and cutters with a large helix angle gave a better surface finish.
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