The present work deals with the machining of Tool steel - SKD 11 which is widely used in industries for making dies and molds. It is chosen for its toughness, strength, and hardness maintained up to high temperature. However, the properties of tool steel make it extremely difficult and expensive to machine using conventional approaches. Thermally assisted machining has been found wide spread application in recent years to improve machinability of difficult-to-cut materials. This research paper presents the outcome of an investigation on laser assisted turning of SKD 11 using TiN coated ceramic inserts. Extensive heating studies are carried out to understand the laser-material interaction. The LAM parameters were selected based on the outcome from heating study. In this study, the effect of laser beam on cutting forces, surface temperature, surface roughness and tool wear are analysed over wide range of cutting speeds and feed rate and the results are compared with conventional machining. © 2014 Published by Elsevier Ltd.