Face turning trials were carried out on glass fibre reinforced plastics (GFRP), carbon fibre reinforced plastics (CFRP) and kevlar fibre reinforced plastics (KFRP) cylindrical tubes to study their machined surfaces for possible application as friction surfaces. The surface roughness obtained and the observed morphology of the machined surfaces of fibre reinfoced plastics (FRP) composites are compared and are reported in this paper. The mechanisms of material removal and tool wear are also discussed and illustrated with scanning electron micrographs. The cutting forces encountered during machining of composites were also measured. © 1988.