Custom Bike Builder Takes Dream to Reality
With a single-minded passion to build the best bikes on the market, one custom bike builder took the leap into design and manufacturing. No experience necessary.
The face of manufacturing has changed dramatically over the past few years. The boom in smaller, more affordable machine tools and PC-based CAD/CAM systems has opened the world of manufacturing to a much wider audience.
Chumba Wumba (Anaheim, California) not only designs and builds custom bike frames, they have a professional racing team where all their designs are tested to the limit. Ted Tanouye initially began business as a retail bike shop, but the requests for custom-built bike frames eventually took over the business. The machined parts were originally outsourced, but the long lead times put a damper on the creative process. There is a big difference between going from concept to finished part the same day or waiting two weeks for the same part.
"Quit dreaming about it and do it!” resolved Tanouye. With an engineering background but no practical machining experience, he took the leap into manufacturing by purchasing a compact Haas VMC and FeatureCAM CAD/CAM software.
Tanouye admits that his decision wouldn’t have been possible ten years ago because of the large cash outlay. But things have changed over the past few years. Machine tools and the software to run them have become increasingly more affordable."Thirty-five parts, that means every item on the racing chassis down to the cable guides, are designed and manufactured in-house with the use of FeatureCAM. Other programmers and nonprogrammers are blown away with how fast and easily parts can be produced with FeatureCAM and it keeps getting better with every upgrade,” says Tanouye.
"I purchased the Haas and FeatureCAM at about the same time. I had one week of training on the Haas and learned FeatureCAM on my own. Within two weeks, I was designing and machining my own parts. I chose FeatureCAM because it’s a native Windowsโ program and the look and feel of the software is very intuitive. I also like the automatic selection of tools and feeds and speeds. It’s very fast and easy to design and program parts in FeatureCAM. Creating features is just point and click, then the NC programming is done automatically. The software is so intuitive that a new user can sit down with FeatureCAM for the first time and be creating code in just a few hours.”
For more information about Chumba Wumba bikes, visit www.chumbawumba.com.