Local manufacturer teaches his craft online


By Christian Bétancourt

When Liberty Hill maker Joe Pieczynski recorded himself unraveling a wolf spider by removing the down from each of its paws one fateful morning, he never dreamed he would be seen a million times. in the world. His YouTube channel has racked up over 26 million views.

“I had a tampon in the store that produces a lot of cotton fiber,” he said. “One of those three-inch-long wolf spiders came through and got tangled. He looked like a fuzzy little snowman walking on the ground, and I felt bad. I didn’t want to see him die. I leaned over the floor with a sharp piece of steel and tweezers. When I removed the material from his first foot, he stood perfectly still and lifted each leg one at a time and let me do all eight legs.

At that time, the idea of ​​recording the incident was far from Pieczynski’s mind. He said he was amazed by the interaction and pleasantly surprised when he was able to reproduce it, this time with his camera ready.

“Another crawled under the road one day, the same situation got tangled up,” he said. “I put the camera on the ground with a scale and an X-Acto knife, and I filmed it. It has gone viral. The spider video has gotten 2.8 million views. It was just a quirky feeling. The other videos all north have a quarter of a million (views) each. “

Of the more than 300 videos on his channel, only a few contain arachnids. The vast majority display their 47 years of knowledge in manufacturing and machining, and how to build anything from screws to fully functioning replicas of 1800s steam engines.

“They’re not going to teach you these things in trade school,” Pieczynski said. “You will learn this in 40-50 years of practice. It is specially designed to help new and existing machinists, mechanics, hobbyists, top guys learn things not in the book.

The creation of the channel came to Pieczynski after seeing other videos on the subject that he just did not like.

“One day I was eating my lunch and watching a video on what they call threading,” he said. “I watched so many videos that only gave bad advice. I put down my sandwich, grabbed my Go-Pro and shot my first video. That video just turned into thousands of comments, thousands of questions, and thousands of views. I realized there was a demand for some type of tutorial or mentor in this area.

About 130,000 people subscribe to Pieczynski’s channel, with its videos seen in 127 countries around the world.

“I receive emails from Russia, New Zealand and South Africa,” he said. “I have a lot of supporters in the UK and all over the US. They received me very well and I am moved. I had no expectations. I just wanted to (show them how I did it). I did medicine, I did aerospace, I did the military. I made parts that are in orbit and parts that revolve around the ocean floor. I filled the whole range.

Pieczynski knew from an early age that he would spend his life making things from blocks of raw material. He was fortunate enough to be able to learn the trade during his formative years at school.

“My school was a very technical high school,” he says. “When I walked into my first machine shop in 1970, I saw the machines cut wood and steel and fall apart. I just fell in love with the fact that if you can run this machine you can do anything. A block of steel can sit there and rust for a million years and still be a block of steel. If you can make this machine work, you can turn it into something cool.

Originally from New Jersey, Pieczynski and his wife decided to move to central Texas 25 years ago and live in Round Rock.

“I’ve been in the same house since I moved to Texas,” he said. “My wife is just sick of the cold, and I’m sick of shoveling snow at 3 am six months a year, and I said ‘we have to do something different. “

After a successful career as a designer for an orthopedic company in Austin, Pieczynski ventured eight years ago and opened a boutique near US Highway 183 in Liberty Hill. Its Advanced Innovations LLC store serves a wide range of customers in the medical field.

“I customize, repair and modify surgical tools to make them more comfortable and ergonomic for surgeons during the procedure,” he said. “I was a former Associate New Product Design Engineer for Sulzer Orthopedics here in Austin. When we learned that a designer now had his place, I began to receive requests. One turned into several thousand and turned into a full-fledged business.

Pieczynski produces and uploads around eight videos per month for his fans. He says he will continue to make videos, but his clients will always come first. At 63, he says he will continue to look after his viewers and customers until he can no longer do so.

“Maybe in five years I will downsize,” he said. “Maybe I’ll be retired. Maybe a store behind my house. A much smaller store with AC and I take my time with what I do. I can’t imagine not doing it. I will do it as long as I breathe. I just love the creativity of making something from scratch. I hope everyone is as happy with their daily work as I am.

To watch his videos, search for the English Bulldog avatar and search Joe Pieczynski on YouTube.

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