For effective rough milling, an optimized criterion is required to select the feedrate. In this study, a method to obtain the most appropriate reference cutting force for rough milling was developed. The reference cutting force was determined by considering the transverse rupture strength of the tool material and the area of the rupture surface. A finite element method analysis was performed to accurately calculate the area of the rupture surface. Using the analyzed results, the effect of various cutting parameters on the chipping phenomenon was determined. The calculation method for the reference cutting force considered the area of the rupture surface, the effect of the rake angle, and the axial depth of cut. The experimental results clearly show that the reference cutting force obtained from the proposed method met the desired constraints.