This paper describes the performance of diamond cutting tools during high speed precision machining. Experimental data collected from a very large sample size showed that the tool life varied at random and was very close to exponential distribution. Tool wear can be characterized into normal wear, chipping, setting problems, line effects, chip dragging and fracture by inclusions in the workpiece. The tooling data showed that the effects of crystallographic orientations on tool life is insignificant. Experiments also indicated that tools with extremely short life have strong absorption band with maxima at 1365 cm−1. This seems to show the existence of N-O bond in the diamond crystal lattices. The presence of N-O bond appears to be correlated to premature tool failure.

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