Pre-polishing and polishing stages are considered as semi-finishing and finishing operations in manufacturing process. Generally, these operations are carried out manually. These stages are health hazards for the operator and may lead to geometrical defects during manufacturing. This paper proposes and optimizes a method to perform these operations on a common 5-axis milling machine. This method uses the flank of a flexible cylindrical tool to link the machine position and the exerted polishing pressure. The toolpath proposed comprises a carrier trajectory on which a loop pattern is repeated. Subsequently, experimental optimization of the pre-polishing cost is proposed, coupled with an estimation of the roughness obtained. Firstly, a screening design of experiments is used to identify the most influential factors of this process. Based on these influential factors, a response surface is used to obtain experimental models to estimate the pre-polishing cost per volume and resulting roughness. These models are used to optimize the pre-polishing factors to reduce the process cost while maintaining specific roughness.