It’s rather ironic that a YouTube channel solely based on pushing things down and crushing them, has experienced a meteoric rise in the past months.
We are, of course, speaking about the Hydraulic Press Channel. An extremely focused YouTube channel, you subscribe and watch for one reason: to see objects destroyed by a giant hydraulic press.
Although started only months ago, the channel is just a few subscribers short of the magical million subscriber count.
And behind the press is a Finnish man named Lauri Vuohensilta, and we spoke to him about the hugely-entertaining channel.
htxt.africa: You’ve stated that you use the press professionally in your job, in a shop you own with your dad. Is this shop a regular machine shop or do you specialise in using hydraulic presses?
Lauri Vuohensilta: I use it quite rarely in my real job, probably [only] once or twice per month. I’m usually on the lathe or doing milling work, or instructing the workers in the shop. I also try and get new customers and stuff like that.
How did working with the press evolve into using it to destroy objects, and when did that become a YouTube channel?
I was watching many similar channels such as carsandwater with the red hot nickel ball and I thought that they are so simple and have such cool ideas, that maybe I could do something like that. I spoke to my wife about it and in about half an hour we came up with the idea to use our hydraulic press to create cool videos.
Your first video was posted only 7 months ago and you’re already nearing 1 million subscribers. At what point (or what video) did the channel really begin to gain momentum?
It was exactly two months ago. It was our paper folding video and it got to the front page of Reddit. After that the video started getting a lot of views – 2 million on the first day.
Can you tell me about your setup? What do you use to film, edit and keep yourself safe.
I started with a Sony RX100, then I got the mark 2 model and that’s my main camera. I also used to use a Sony Xperia Z5 Compact to capture slowmo. But now I have a new RX100 for my slowmo zoom, because it can shoot 1 000 frames per second. Then I also use a GoPro Black for slowmo because the Sony can only capture 4 seconds, which makes it difficult. So I use the GoPro, which captures at 120 frames per second. For software I was using Windows Movie Maker, but I now use Adobe Premier.
Speaking of safety, as the videos have gone on you’ve been steadily improving it by adding a shield to stand behind.
The blast shield is a 10 millimetre thick piece of polycarbonate, and I’ve seen a video of the same material at 30 millimetre thick that was able to stop a bullet.
What was the most dangerous press you’ve done so far?
Probably a video I filmed last Wednesday that hasn’t been released yet, but I think it’s going out on Friday. This Finnish stunt show called The Dudesons were visiting us and they asked us if we could press some DVDs for them. They asked if we could press 100 DVDs in a box. We put them all in one big box under the press and, surprisingly, the stack of DVDs exploded and it threw the DVD at a really high speed. They were able to dent 3 metre thick steel.
You recently pressed a diamond, is this the most expensive object you’ve crushed?
Someone told me that the clarity of that kind of diamond is very good [so I think it is] Also, the video where I pressed other hydraulic presses was the second most expensive. But the diamond was sent to me so it didn’t cost me anything.
Is there a “Holy Grail” object that you’d like to put under the crush, but can’t because it’s too dangerous or expensive? You said you’d like to do a Golden YouTube Play button, but is there anything else?
Some kind of precious metal or a one kilogram CO2 bottle. I also want to crush a running lawnmower when I get my new press, but I’ll need better protection because that will be dangerous.
The clay animals that are crushed at the end of your videos, how did those come about?
That is a funny story. Next to our press I have a balancing machine that I use to balance some spinning machine parts like cams. And I need to do trials on it before I balance parts, so I use clay to do that. It was one of our first videos and my wife got bored while I was doing some technical stuff, so she made a blue clay creature that you see in all of our outros. When we crushed it we thought it was quite funny, so we continued. It’s mostly animals but we also have plans to do some other things.
You’ve said before that you don’t know if the channel will support you until you retire. Could the channel ever reach a point where you consider running it as your only source of income?
I don’t think so because I have to keep our shop running because I am the manager of the shop, and if I leave it will go bankrupt. And, if the YouTube channel stops making money I have no work left, so I have to keep my shop running. But I have been able to cut some of my work down in the shop. I only have to do about 10 hours of my real job per week now.
Your “folding paper more than 7 times” video is the most popular, but which is your favourite?
I think my favourite is the hockey puck video because the explosion was such a big surprise for me. I didn’t expect a hockey puck would explode at all when you try and crush it.
You’re extremely close to 1 million subscribers, and have said that you’ll do a Q&A video to celebrate. Do you have anything else planned?
Not really. I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to plan anything big. I have some very cool videos coming this week though, and its kind of a special week because of that.
I’d also like to end off by saying that the new press should be arriving in a couple of months and that should be able to take things to a whole new level. It’s probably going to be able to press with a force of around 1 000 tons, so it’s ten times more powerful than the current press.