Thermally assisted machining (TAM) involves the use of a heating source to elevate the workpiece temperature at the cutting zone to facilitate the material removal process. TAM has evolved over the years with the emergence of new heating sources and the need to machine newly developed hard and brittle materials. In recent years, the main activities in this research area have been focused on laser assisted machining (LAM) at both the macro and micro scale, largely because of focused and controlled delivery of energy that can be achieved with a laser. This paper attempts to provide an overview of research in the general area of TAM, with an emphasis on LAM at the macro scale. Both experimental and theoretical/numerical work will be presented in this review. The challenges and progresses made so far will be detailed. And finally, future research directions in this area will be discussed.

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