By Nila McGinnis
Tyler Collins is not your average business owner. At 18 years old, the Elsberry High School graduate maintains his own custom metal designs and fabricating business, Collins Custom Cuts, out of his family home and workshop in Elsberry.
After learning to work a plasma cutting maching at the recommendation of his agriculture teacher in school, Collins has spent the last few years learning how to use the high-tech machine, program software, make designs, and work with tools to help perfect his metal working skills.
After graduation last spring, Collins decided to go to work with his father at his family-owned construction business. After deciding that the construction career was not for him, Collins’ parents helped him out with purchasing the pricey plasma metal cutting machine, which he uses to run his businesses.
Three months into his endeavor, Collins’ business is booming. Every week, he is almost flooded with orders from a wide variety of clients looking for a custom piece. Using Facebook and word-of-mouth to market his products, Collins has reached consumers far and wide. From car buffs hoping to get a custom part for their race car to brides-to-be hoping for a rustic sign to place on the head table at her wedding reception, Collins has been able to transition to this business full-time, and enjoys working for himself.
“It’s great being able to work on something that I love and run my own business,” he commented. “There has been a lot of trial and error, but I am learning new things all the time. My family has been very supportive of me, and I am thankful that the business is doing as well as it is just a few months in.”
Eventually, Collins hopes to transition to mainly fabricating custom car parts, as he has a passion for motocross and automotive mechanics.
At his workspace in Elsberry, Collins works through a detailed process to complete each piece he sells. After drafting a design on the computer and getting it approved by the client, Collins begins work at his machine, punching measurements into a software program that communicates with his machine. After several minutes of tinkering, he then sets the machine in motion, which goes to work cutting out his design as he monitors the progress and adjusts anything that needs to change.
After the machine is finished cutting, Collins cleans the piece, soaks it in a cleansing acid wash, paints, and finishes each piece to the customer’s preference.
“One of the most rewarding things about my job is seeing the joy on people’s faces after I hand them their finished product,” Collins remarked. “I love when someone says that their friend or daughter or husband is going to love what I’ve made for them.”
Collins is excited to continue his work with custom metal, and hopes to continue to expand and grow his venture.
If you are interested in learning more about the pieces Collins has for sale, please see his business Facebook page, @CollinsCustomCuts.