A review of fly cutting applied to surface generation in ultra-precision machining

S. J. Zhang, Suet To, Z. W. Zhu, G. Q. Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

117 Citations (Scopus)


Fly cutting in ultra-precision machining (UPM), termed ultra-precision fly cutting (UPFC), is an intermittent cutting process in which a diamond tool is mounted with a spindle to intermittently cut a workpiece. The process offers the high flexibility necessary for fabricating freeform, micro/nano-structural surfaces, as well as hybrid structural surfaces with sub-micrometric form error and nanometric surface roughness, and its constant cutting velocity provides uniform high surface quality. However, in addition to its low machining efficiency, UPFC's intermittent cutting process results in distinctive surface generation mechanisms, covering intermittent tool-workpiece relative motion, tool geometry imprinted into a machined surface, and surface material separation and deformation. General factors, such as cutting conditions, tool geometry, material factors (material property change, material swelling and recovery, and material separation mechanism), kinematic and dynamic errors, assembling errors, cutting strategies, tool path, and workpiece geometry, are individual to UPFC and universal in UPM. Accordingly, this paper focuses on the current investigation of fly cutting applied into surface generation in UPM. Conclusions are reached and the challenges and opportunities for further studies are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-27
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Machine Tools and Manufacture
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Fly cutting
  • Surface generation
  • Ultra-precision fly cutting
  • Ultra-precision machining
  • Ultra-precision raster milling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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