Having worked in his father’s business manufacturing bespoke motorcycle swinging arms for 25 years, Dean Ryde took the decision to take on a new challenge and strike out on his own. In July 2016 he registered his new business, Billet World, and in September took delivery of his first machine tools and started to cut metal. As the company name implies he is focussing on manufacturing parts from billet material, mainly for the motorcycling community.

My CNC machining experience started way back with an XYZ Pro 2000 turret mill with an early ProtoTRAK control fitted. The control was so easy to use and user friendly that we bought the XYZ LPM, which has the latest version of the ProtoTRAK system installed

Dean’s passion, apart from machining billets is to restore and build Yamaha RDTZ350 motorcycles, for which he machines many parts. This connection has brought him other business from the classic motorcycle arena where replacing parts becomes more difficult as time goes by. The most cost-effective way to produce these components, typically crankcase covers, wheels, cylinder heads and yokes is to reverse engineer them through 3D scanning and modelling, 3D printing to qualify the CAD model, then machining complete from billet. “Typical of this is a recent order for the machining of a number of Ducati 250/350 narrow crankcases. The customer was initially looking at having a mould made and casting these parts, but by scanning the original and reverse engineering them we could put the billet directly onto our XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM machining centre. The typical cycle time is around 5.5 hours per side, due to the highly complex forms and large volume of metal to be removed, but still a highly cost-effective solution,” says Dean. Billet World’s business is not all about recreating the past though, as machining is also undertaken for brand new motorcycles from the resurgent Hesketh brand for which it manufactures covers and spindles for its limited edition motorcycles. The possibility is that this work will expand into the automotive sector in the near future.

Dean’s choice of the XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM vertical machining centre comes from his experience at his father’s business, Metmachex, where the same machine was in use. “My CNC machining experience started way back with an XYZ Pro 2000 turret mill with an early ProtoTRAK control fitted. The control was so easy to use and user friendly that we bought the XYZ LPM, which has the latest version of the ProtoTRAK system installed,” says Dean. “When I started my business it was a logical step to replicate the machines, bringing in an LPM along with a ProTURN SLX 425 lathe, I even bought an old Pro 2000 for odd jobs. The mainstay of the business though is the LPM, which with its 16 position toolchange, Jergens Ball Lock fixturing system and the ProtoTRAK control, which is ideal for the work we do.”

Success has come quickly for Billet World, having taken delivery of the XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM and ProTURN SLX425 business has boomed and far exceeded Dean’s expectations, so much so that a third ProtoTRAK machine is already under consideration. “My business plan was quite modest as I only envisaged turning over £65,000 in my first year as it became established.” Between September and the beginning of December the turnover has already exceeded £55,000 and Dean fully expects that the finance on the two new XYZ machines will be paid off within 12 months due to the potential to grow the business faster than expected. Much of this business is generated through word of mouth or via Dean’s Facebook page.

The XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM (Lean Production Machine) vertical machining centre is the logical step up from using an XYZ ProtoTRAK turret or bed mill. The control system operates in exactly the same user-friendly conversational way, making programming at the machine straightforward. Alternatively programs can be created from CAD drawings using the optional DXF converter in the ProtoTRAK control. Performance is enhanced by the 8000 revs/min, 15 hp, BT40 spindle, in combination with the 16 position toolchanger. Machine set up is simplified by use of the innovative Jergens Ball Lock system on the machine table, which allows accurate positioning to standard datums of a wide range of workholding solutions. With axis travels of 785 mm by 470 mm by 530 mm (xyz) and a table size of 900 mm by 500 mm the XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM is a highly capable machining centre.

(Above) One of the Yamaha RDTZ350 two stroke motorcycles built by Dean Ryde (right) that features many parts machined on the XYZ machines. Photo courtesy of Practical Sportsbikes magazine, Bauer Media.

(Above) The XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM is kept busy at Billet World.

(Above) A recent project to machine crankcases for vintage Ducati motorcycles.

(Above) Billet machining is a cost-effective method to re-engineer obsolete components.

(Above) The XYZ ProtoTRAK LPM and ProTURN SLX 425 at Billet World.

(Above) The 1,950cc V-twin limited edition Hesketh 24 with parts machined by Billet World.