Tool life can be long and productive, or short and disastrous. Understanding the basic forces in the metal-cutting process that contribute to tool wear or failure will help you use today's tool technologies to ensure that your cutting tools will have a long and productive life [CNC Mach. 5 (2001)]. Thin films, deposited by plasma vapor deposition (PVD) or chemical vapor deposition (CVD), are commonly used techniques to ensure long tool life on cutting inserts and tools as compared with ion implantation. This paper compares the wear behavior of PVD TiCN-coated cutting inserts with the nitrogen ion implanted PVD TiCN-coated ones. These inserts are used in dry turning of steel AISI-SAE 1050 under three different cutting speeds. Cutting forces are measured during cutting by using a piezoelectric dynamometer, charge amplifiers and a PC-based data acquisition system. Results of the turning tests are discussed in terms of tool life, flank wear and cutting forces. (c) 0 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.