Influencing an industry: A look at letsdig18’s unique collaboration with AMI

Chris Guins (letsdig18) with his LD18-branded AMI attachment.

As with most cultural trends, the construction industry seemed to be slightly late to the party in terms of having influencer and internet personality representation across social media platforms.

However, despite the general delay in adopting this trend, the industry is now seeing many operators and contractors using social media platforms as a way to market themselves and their companies, educate people and express themselves creatively.

One example is Chris Guins of Guins Excavating Service in North Carolina.

Chris has a YouTube channel called letsdig18 where he has uploaded over 3,000 videos, gained over 550,000 subscribers and garnered almost half a billion views in total.

His first video, published to the account on September 6, 2007, is titled “Excavator Loading Truck.” The video, shot point-of-view-style from inside the cab, shows an excavator loading a dump truck while Taking Care of Business by The Clashblares from its speakers.

Now, Chris posts videos to the channel almost every day which take viewers to various job sites, with many different machines and applications.

The production value of has grown along with Chris’s following. He uses mounts to fix cameras to machines for a better view of the work being done and he also incorporates drone footage, which gives the viewer better perspective of an overall job site and its progression.

A first in the industry

In 2020, AMI Attachments, based in Hawkesville, Ontario launched a line of products that were engineered in collaboration with Chris and branded with his letsdig18 logo.

Commenting on his experience with AMI, Chris said, “One thing that I can say about AMI, if you contact them, you will get a response. They have phenomenal people there.”

“We saw the opportunity to be able to work with [Chris], it was a way of supporting [his] efforts. It was a way of supporting what [Chris] does and build up [his] channel and, really, supporting the community. I don’t think there’s ever been a branded attachment until now. I think the LD18 product line from AMI is the first of its kind,” said Jeff Brubacher, marketing team member at AMI attachments, in a video message to Chris.

Letsdig18 Progressive Link Hydraulic Thumb

The Custom Edition letsdig18 Progressive Link Hydraulic Thumb provides more constant pressure throughout the entire cylinder range. The thumb achieves more than 180-degree rotation, making it easy to reach and pick up objects in close proximity. The extra linkage expands the thumb’s reach across the bucket’s entire rotation, including at full roll out, providing superior material handling.

The tines are made from Hardox 450 Wear Plate, a special steel that is significantly harder than simple AR400. Hardox wears evenly over time compared to AR400, which is only heat treated on the outside.

In the middle, the steel is soft and will wear faster and inconsistently. Made for strength without extra weight, Strenx is a structural steel which reduces weight.

“The advantage of this is you can pretty much grab at any position of the bucket, if you have the bucket rolled all the way back, the thumb will still go in between the teeth. And you can grab some way up there have the bucket curled all the way back,” explained Chris, in a video review of the Letsdig18 Progressive Link Hydraulic Thumb.

Letsdig18 Stick Pivot Hydraulic Thumb

According to AMI, the Custom Edition Letsdig18 Hydraulic Stick Pivot Thumb provides great functionality to anexcavator and backhoe.

Stick Pivot means the thumb rotates on the same pivot point as the original bucket pin, not a secondary weld-on pivot point.

Also, the hydraulic cylinder is directly connected to the thumb, covering 65-75% bucket rotation.

Since both the thumb and the bucket rotate on the same axis, the thumb tip and bucket teeth maintain constant grip on the load when rotating.

Unlike thumbs that use a secondary weld-on pivot point, the Letsdig18 Custom Edition Stick Pivot eliminates scraping and slippage and reduces risk of release during rotation.

The Letsdig18 Hydraulic Stick Pivot Thumb also exclusively features Hardox tines positioned between each tooth.