Modulated machining in compliant systems was used on a linear machining test-bed to create periodic surface features at micrometer and sub-micrometer scales in metallic materials. Using appropriate conditions, surface features heights were controllably varied from 250nm to 2.7μ and the periodicity of the features was found to vary from 50μ to 410μ. The formation of these 2-D features, although the motion of the cutting tool is nominally linear, can be traced to the; interplay of the intermittency of the machining process with the compliance of the cutting tool system. We rationalize the variations in the feature size and periodicity, in different cutting conditions, in terms of the different relative velocities between the tool and the work piece, and the compliance of the system. We also show that these parameters can be controlled very accurately and resulting fine feature sizes can be thus tailored.