Changes in cutting forces during a milling operation can be associated with tool wear and breakage. Accurate monitoring of these cutting forces is an important step towards the automation of the machining process. However, direct force sensors, such as dynamometers, are not practical for industry application due to high costs, unwanted compliance, and workspace limitations. This paper describes a method in which power sensors on the feed and spindle motors are used to generate coefficients for a cutting force model. The resulting model accurately predicts the X and Y cutting forces observed in several simple end-milling tests, and should be capable of estimating both the peak and average force for a given cut geometry. In this work, a dynamometer is used to calibrate the feed drive power sensor and to measure experimental cutting forces for verification of the cutting force model. Measurement of the average x-axis cutting forces is currently presented as an off-line procedure performed on a sacrificial block of material. The potential development of a continuous, real-time force monitoring system is discussed.

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