An investigation into the origin of spatial frequencies within a turned surface profile is presented. A wavelength decomposition methodology is used to characterize the wavelength structure of experimental profiles. A model for surface generation in a turning process is described. The model accounts for the stochastic nature and the dynamic response of the cutting process. The model is studied analytically and predictions of the wavelengths in the surface profile are obtained. The model is also examined via computer simulations, and the resulting wavelength predictions are seen to compare favorably with the analytical predictions. Finally, the experimental data and associated wavelength structure are compared to the analytical and simulated results from the model. The model predictions are observed to match, and capture the structure in, the experimentally obtained surface profile data. It is shown that many of the spatial frequencies within a surface profile result from the “sampling” of the radial displacement of the tool relative to the work.

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