Surface topography analysis of ball end milled tool steel surfaces

Francesco Biondani*, Giuliano Bissacco, Hans Nørgaard Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleResearchpeer-review

    61 Downloads (Pure)


    Many mechanical components require mirror-like surface appearance. When the application concerns the manufacturing of steel dies and moulds, material removal processes are the preferential choice in order to achieve the wanted dimensions and surface topography. In particular, ball milling is used in all those cases that require the machining of free form surfaces. When mirror-like surface appearance is in focus in such components, the final machining operations consists in a very shallow cut. The theoretical surface roughness (kinematic surface topography) that can be achieved in a finishing operation by ball end milling is orders of magnitude below the actual surface roughness. Beside runout and machine tool positioning errors, the quality of the cutting tools is a key factor in determining the surface topography. The combination of shallow depth of cut together with the finite size of the cutting edge radius of the tool are responsible for the occurrence of material smearing phenomena. Smearing, consisting in the accumulation of plastically deformed material over the surface, is particularly detrimental for the aesthetic functionality of machined components because it is responsible of the "foggy" appearance. In order to minimize the occurrence of the smeared material it is necessary to have a good understanding of the causes of the smearing formation process. The aim of this paper is the description and quantification of the smearing phenomena for ball end milling operations. The location of the smeared material is determined through SEM image analysis and related with the direction of the cutting speed and milling strategy. Subsequently the volume of the smeared material is quantified through a combination of confocal microscopy and SEM image analysis. Based on the volumetric analysis of the smeared material a new method for determining the Minimum Uncut Chip Thickness for the material is proposed.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProcedia CIRP
    Pages (from-to)153-158
    Publication statusPublished - 2020
    Event5th CIRP Conference on Surface Integrity (CSI 2020) - Mondragon Unibertsitatea, Mondragón, Spain
    Duration: 1 Jun 20205 Jun 2020


    Conference5th CIRP Conference on Surface Integrity (CSI 2020)
    LocationMondragon Unibertsitatea


    • Minimu Uncut Chip Thickness
    • Smearing
    • Surface Topography


    Dive into the research topics of 'Surface topography analysis of ball end milled tool steel surfaces'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this