How pursuing your passions can lead to the career of your dreams
Imagine waking up Christmas morning to find a Lincoln MIG Welder underneath your tree. For any welder, it would be a Christmas to remember. But for Lonnie, it was the beginning of his long love for fabrication and custom auto work.
“I’ve been around cars all my life and always wanted to work on them and modify them. My parents decided to get me a Lincoln MIG welder for Christmas when I was in high school and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Before becoming a full time fabricator, Lonnie worked as a mechanic, and even spent some time working on a top fuel dragster. “I still work on cars, most of my work is custom automotive fabrication. When I decided I was done working at repair shops, I had been doing a lot of fabrication work on my own projects and just decided to apply for a welding position.”
“The first job I got that actually had ‘welder’ in my title was welding stainless handrails for boats at a local marine fabrication shop. There’s lot of opportunities in this industry. You can weld anything from car parts to boat parts to medical devices to the pipeline. If you find a niche you think you’ll like, find out what process they use and practice it. Get certified, if need be, and apply.”
How do you learn new welding skills? What books, videos, tools do you use to keep up with new welding trends?
I watch, listen, and read stuff online and make a lot of mental notes. I like Welding Tips and Tricks youtube and podcasts, as well as Everlast, Weld.com, and WeldTube’s youtube channels.
What’s your favorite welding application?
TIG for sure
What’re your favorite welding tools/brands?
I love my Everlast 255EXT. My consumables and accessories are a collaboration including Arc-Zone, CK, and a couple others.
What’s the most surprising or hardest moment of your career?
Doing custom automotive fabrication is always surprising and challenging. Customers sometimes ask for crazy things and it’s a fun challenge to get it done the way they want.
What’s the greatest moment of your career?
Honestly, lifting my hood and seeing a good weld is always super rewarding. It will never get old, that’s for sure.
What advice do you have for others in the welding industry?
Never give up. Welding may seem difficult when you start, but you’ll get it. Once you do finally get it, never stop learning or challenging yourself.
If you weren’t on the path you are now, what would you have done instead?
I think I would have enjoyed being a CNC machinist. I love drawing and designing parts for my projects on Fusion360.
Welding Exhaust Systems or Car Frames?
Beer or Cocktail?
Chevy or Ford?
Dog or Cat?
Text or Phone Call?
Laundry or Dishes?
Bowling or Mini Golf?
Favorite T.V. show?
Almost anything car related, haha. Bitchin’ Rides is probably my favorite out of those though.
Favorite pizza topping?
Favorite place to vacation?
Anywhere with a drag strip
Last song listened to?
“If You’re Gonna Play In Texas” by Alabama
Last thing that made you go “huh?”
The design of a turbo manifold at a friend’s shop
Until Next Time
To learn more about Lonnie, follow @akuma.fab on Instagram