In the present work, a mechanistic model of cutting forces is developed with a novel approach to arrive at the cutting edge geometry as well as the cutting mechanics. The geometry of cutting elements derived and verified using a virtual tool generated in CAD environment is considered. The cutting and edge force coefficients at every discrete point on the cutting edge of micro-ball end mill are established in a novel way from the basic metal cutting principles and fundamental properties of materials, considering edge radius and material strengthening effects. Further, measured edge radius is used in the model. Full slot micro-ball end milling experiments are conducted on a high-precision high-speed machining center using a 0.4 mm diameter tungsten carbide tool and cutting forces are measured using a high-sensitive piezo-electric dynamometer. It is established that the predicted as well as experimental cutting forces are higher at very low uncut chip thickness in comparison with the cutting edge radius in micro-ball end milling also. Amplitudes of cutting forces and instantaneous values with incremental rotation of the tool are compared with predicted values over two revolutions for validation of proposed model. © 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.