Speeds and feeds - feed rate


The phrase speeds and feeds or feeds and speeds refers to two separate velocities in machine tool practice, cutting speed and feed rate. They are often considered as a pair because of their combined effect on the cutting process. Each, however, can also be considered and analyzed in its own right.

Cutting speed (also called surface speed or simply speed) is the speed difference (relative velocity) between the cutting tool and the surface of the workpiece it is operating on. It is expressed in units of distance along the workpiece surface per unit of time, typically surface feet per minute (sfm) or meters per minute (m/min). Feed rate (also often styled as a solid compound, feedrate, or called simply feed) is the relative velocity at which the cutter is advanced along the workpiece; its vector is perpendicular to the vector of cutting speed. Feed rate units depend on the motion of the tool and workpiece; when the workpiece rotates (e.g., in turning and boring), the units are almost always distance per spindle revolution (inches per revolution [in/rev or ipr] or millimeters per revolution [mm/rev]).

The shown formula can be used to figure out the feed rate that the cutter travels into or around the work. This would apply to cutters on a milling machine, drill press and a number of other machine tools. This is not to be used on the lathe for turning operations, as the feed rate on a lathe is given as feed per revolution.

Related formulas


FRfeed rate (mm/min)
RPMspeed for the cutter (1/min)
Tnumber of teeth on the cutter (dimensionless)
CLchip load or feed per tooth (the size of chip that each tooth of the cutter takes) (mm)