Dry machining is sometimes less effective when higher machining efficiency, better surface finish quality, and severe cutting conditions are required. For these situations, semi-dry operations utilizing very small amount of cutting fluids called minimum quantity lubrication is expected to become a powerful tool and played a significant role in a number of practical applications. It has been observed from the literature survey that a systematic research work has to be carried out to determine the optimum quantity of lubricant with appropriate cutting conditions for achieving better machinability characteristics of a material. Hence, an attempt has been made in this paper to enhance the machinability characteristics in high speed turning of superalloy Inconel 718 using quantity of lubricant, delivery pressure at the nozzle, frequency of pulses, direction of application of cutting fluid, cutting speed, and feed rate as the process parameters. Results indicated that the use of optimized minimum quantity lubrication parameters under pulsed jet mode leads to lower cutting force, cutting temperature, and flank wear. © Springer-Verlag London Limited 2010.