Monitoring of the cutting force signals in cutting process has been well emphasized in machine tool communities. Although the cutting force can be directly measured by a tool dynamometer, this method is not always feasible because of high cost and limitations in setup. In this paper an indirect cutting force monitoring system is developed so that the cutting force in turning process is estimated based on a AC spindle drive model. This monitoring system considers the cutting force as a disturbance input to the spindle drive and estimates the cutting force based on the inverse dynamic model. The inverse dynamic model represents the dynamic relation between the cutting force, the motor torque and the motor power. The proposed monitoring system is realized on a CNC lathe and its estimation performance is evaluated experimentally.