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Meet Adam Volpe of Pretty Hate Machining

Today we’d like to introduce you to Adam Volpe.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Adam. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
How I got started is a bit of a long story. Without writing a novel, I have always loved to make things, even from a young age. I got started in Construx and then Legos and I never really looked back. I graduated to computers and cars and eventually metalworking (including welding, machining and artwork) in recent years.

Specifically, in regards to my current line of work, I got started when I bought a new home in 2014 and finally had some workshop space for the first time in my life. I bought my first welder, learned how to use it via Youtube and I’ve just been expanding and branching out ever since. I haven’t made a penny in the meantime, every bit of profit I make goes into new tools and materials for continually bigger and better projects.

Has it been a smooth road?
In my experience, nothing is a smooth road. If it’s a smooth road then you probably should have picked something more challenging. There have been numerous struggles, I would say the biggest is always money. There’s always better materials, better methods, bigger and better tools that could be used for a better end result. The costs are prohibitive, which is why you don’t see a lot of people doing custom work like this. It’s also why I do not keep any of my work – I can’t afford to!

Other than that, I had no existing skills, experience or training in any form of metalworking so I’ve had to learn everything from scratch. The internet has been a primary resource and the rest has been conferring with like-minded individuals and just plain old trial-and-error. It’s been beyond daunting but maybe in a few more decades, I’ll be satisfied with my abilities. Maybe.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Pretty Hate Machining story. Tell us more about the business.
I enjoy making almost anything out of metal but the things that I am known for are my artwork and my weapons. Primarily it’s been my weapons more recently if I’m honest. I make custom one-off weapons from video games, anime, movies, comics, hand-drawn designs from your imagination, whatever it takes. Give me a screenshot from a 25-year-old Nintendo game and I’ll make the real-life version as accurately as possible. It’s a tiny and obscure niche business but at the same time, it has a fairly large appeal in the form of nostalgia.

Most of my followers and customers love to see weapons brought to life from their favorite game or cartoon of their youth. As an old-school gamer and geek myself it’s fulfilling to see the reactions of people marveling over something they were once obsessed with as a child or teenager.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
I predict it will only grow. Most of my customers are in their 30s and 40s and played games or watched series in their younger years. Now they are a little more established in life and can afford a real version of their cherished memory.

Most of the things I create are from sources 15-30 years old as a result. In the future, there will be larger and larger audiences seeing as gaming and media has exploded with popularity over time. I’m sure in another decade I’ll just be making World of Warcraft, Dark Souls and Fortnite weapons instead.

Pricing:

  • Pricing is commensurate with the amount of detail, materials and labor involved and varies hugely as a result. I spend a lot of time writing up estimates and quotes as a result. My prices typically range from about $2000 to $35000, not a small range needless to say.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Daniel Nyman

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