As the service life of components is significantly influenced by the surface layer properties, namely surface roughness, surface work hardening and residual stresses, these are the focus of many investigations. As these properties can be measured experimentally in many cases only after finish of the process, simulation models can be used to explain the final process results by the interpretation of the development of the result quantities during the loading and unloading state. The developed and validated simulation model and the extended process knowledge can be used afterwards to predict process parameter combinations with optimal process results for other cutting tool-workpiece combinations without performing large and costly experimental investigations. In the present study, the dependences of surface work hardening and residual stresses on process parameters of micro-cutting, namely cutting depth, cutting velocity and cutting edge radius are investigated by 2D finite element simulations using ABAQUS/Standard. The material behaviour of normalized AISI 1045 is described in dependence of strain, strain rate, and temperature. Chip formation is modelled by continued remeshing of the work piece. The simulation results are validated by the comparison with experimentally determined integral width and residual stress depth profiles, using x-ray diffraction method. The influence of the ploughing process, characterized by the ratio of cutting edge radius to cutting depth, on surface characteristics is well described by the simulation model.