In cutting field, residual stress distribution analysis on the workpiece is a very interesting topic. Indeed, the residual stress distribution affects fatigue life, corrosion resistance and other functional aspects of the workpiece. Recent studies showed that the development of residual stresses is influenced by the cutting parameters, tool geometry and workpiece material. For reducing the costs of experimental tests and residual stress measurement, analytical and numerical models have been developed. The aim of these models is the possibility of forecasting the residual stress distribution into the workpiece as a function of the selected process parameters. In this work the residual stress distributions obtained simulating cutting operations using a 3D FEM software and the corresponding simulation procedure are reported. In particular, orthogonal cutting operations of AISI 1045 and AISI 316L steels were performed. The FEM results were compared with the experimental residual stress distribution in order to validate the model effectiveness.