Abstract Machining time estimation plays an important role in manufacturing process planning and scheduling. Existing NC machining time estimation methods are all based on material removal rates, NC programs, and machine characteristics. However, the machining condition which is related to the geometry-process information is also an important impact factor of the NC machining time estimation. As existing methods cannot satisfy the requirement of timeliness, accuracy and efficiency, this paper presents a feature-based method for NC machining time estimation. Experiment results show that the proposed approach is feasible and practical. It is particularly useful in real time manufacturing process planning and scheduling systems.