Surface roughness is an important parameter to evaluate the quality of high-speed machining (HSM). This paper establishes a mechanical model based on the molecular-mechanical theory of friction to study factors that influence the surface roughness in HSM. The relationship between flow stress and the remnant height on the machined surface is obtained. The HSM process of AISI-1045 steel is simulated by using finite element method (FEM) based on DEFORM-2D and the flow stress is obtained. The surface roughness of workpiece machined by HSM is calculated based on the value of flow stress and the mechanical model. The result shows that the surface roughness of workpiece in HSM is acceptable, and the mechanical model supplies a method to study the surface roughness in HSM.