Great business ideas can come from surprising places. As proof, allow us to present Chuck Frederick, President of Renegade Wheels (Orange, CA). His successful venture began when he bought a Harley Davidson Fatboy in 2003. He designed a pair of custom wheels for his new ride and had them manufactured in a friend’s shop. They were so cool that people began stopping him on the street to ask where they came from. He got the hint. Before long, Renegade Wheels was in business.
At first, all machining operations were outsourced to local job shops. Chuck realized something had to change. “For the first nine years we were in business, we essentially managed machine shops. I saw them growing and buying equipment and realized there was money to be made in machining our own product.”
Production Revs Up With Doosan Machine Tools
After learning how to machine hubs and brake rotors on smaller mills, Renegade added a Doosan DNM 750 II vertical machining center to the shop in 2016. “I looked at other machining centers,” Chuck said, “but they couldn’t match the reliability and performance of Doosan.” Bringing the machining in-house, Renegade partnered with Ellison Technologies, who provided the onsite training and applications support to Chuck and his team.
The DNM 750 II features a 30” x 64” table, large enough to accommodate Renegade’s largest 30” diameter wheel forgings. Its 40 taper 12,000 RPM spindle makes quick work of the aluminum wheels, combining insane metal removal rates with vastly improved surface finish. This helps Renegade save money in secondary processing.
By machining his wheels on the DNM 750 II, Chuck eliminated problems with turnaround time and quality, not to mention cost. “Job shops used to charge me higher rates for better surface finishes,” said Chuck. “But now I can set up the Doosan to machine an incredibly smooth surface, reducing time and costs spent polishing each wheel.”
Lights Out Reliability
Chuck refers to his custom-made wheels as “jewelry for men,” and he knows the presentation is just as impactful as the product. That’s why Renegade takes extra care with shipping and packaging so that the customer gets a Christmas-like joy out of opening the box. The effort that’s put into packaging shows just how important it is for Renegade to have a machine tool partner that gives them the reliability and performance they need.
As a Doosan shop, Renegade now runs lights out, producing wheels day and night. “Today, we have control of the entire process, and that speeds up delivery time,” Chuck said. “I don’t have blanks waiting ten days to be machined. If I get a hot order, I can slot it in to run tonight. Not to mention we’re saving substantial costs on each piece.”
According to Chuck, “Doosan has made a total difference in our company. We’re turning out a higher quality product faster and spending less money on each piece.” In addition, Ellison has provided Renegade exceptional service and support throughout the process.
Renegade has been so impressed with the reliability of the Doosan machines and the support from Ellison that they just installed another Doosan VMC so his smaller wheels don’t have to wait to be run on the big machine.
*Original article excerpt and photo from Doosan Machine Tools America.