End milling of the curved surfaces is characterized by significant amount of engagement variation along the tool path which results in deflection-induced surface error on the machined components. Feed rate regulation cannot be used in this case to minimize the surface errors as it necessitates continuous change in feed rate along the tool path which deteriorates surface finish and lowers productivity. Another approach in the form of tool path modification scheme was also proposed in the literature to minimize engagement variation at corners of a pocket. This approach has been effective in reducing fluctuations of engagement at corners and cannot be applied directly in machining of curved geometries where engagement variation is continuous along the entire tool path. Keeping these limitations in focus, a new methodology is proposed in this article to minimize surface error variation that modifies machining strategy for the curved components. The strategy proposes machining of the curved components into two different stages: first, generating the modified semi-finishing geometry using algorithm proposed in this article and then producing the desired geometry using conventional contour parallel tool path. The methodology generates the modified semi-finishing geometry such that the engagement offered is constant when a finishing pass is made. The effectiveness of the proposed methodology has been verified by performing computational studies and machining experiments on typical curved geometries. It is observed that the proposed methodology is quite effective in minimizing the variation in the surface error on the machined components. © IMechE 2015.