#WhyWeWeld: Antonio Laluna

#WhyWeWeld: @lunawelding

@lunawelding is a UK-based welder who works with a number of processes in the food manufacturing industry. With more than a decade of experience, and an interesting story of learning to weld, we chatted with @lunawelding to draw from his knowledge of the industry, and to discuss his advice for those starting out. 

Here's our conversation:

Have you always earned a living as a welder, or did you work into the trade from a different industry?

After I left school at 16, I managed to find a position at an engineering college where I did my first year of the apprenticeship. Whilst I was completing the first year, I was jobless and found myself a job working as a labourer on a building site, I did this to earn some money whilst I was at college the other 3 days of the week. After many months, I managed to find a company that would take me on as a full-time apprentice.

How long have you worked in the trades?

I have worked in the trade for 13 years, since I was 16 years old.

Can you tell us about your job? What field do you work in? 

I work for a food manufacturing company, we make the machines that produce food. We fabricate and weld the machines that make people's food.For example, we create machines that mix bread dough, KitKat machines, Oreo machines, cereal machines. Most of the work is made from stainless steel as it's food grade.

Is there a specific welding process that you specialize in?

In my job, I deal with all the aspects of welding and fabrication -- MIG, TIG, MMA Brazing and Gas Welding, on all different types of materials apart from titanium. I don't have much experience with titanium and the company does not use it. The work varies from structural work to thin gauge sheet metal. I also do a lot of pipework from thick high-pressure steam to thin diary pipe purging. I am lucky I get a variety of different things to do -- this has helped me to become a better welder. I do not have a specific process that I specialise in because I do them all, but I can tell you my least favourite is stick welding.

I'd love to hear about your experience of learning to weld in the UK. For our readers elsewhere in the world, can you take us through the process that you completed in order to qualify as a welder? 

I originally never wanted to become a welder. I wanted to be a mechanic. But when I was 15 years old, most schools in the UK had to send students to a work placement to experience 2 weeks of unpaid work. Each student had to fill out a form and pick what type of work experience they wanted to do, based on what jobs they wanted to do for when they leave school.

But I never filled out the form. After weeks of thinking I could get away with not doing any work experience, I was called into a meeting and I was told all the placements had been taken apart from 2 left and I had no choice but had to pick one. I picked the fabrication company.

I first learned to MIG weld and use an angle grinder there, and I really enjoyed it, so that's what made me apply for apprenticeships after I left school. The apprenticeship in the UK is 4 years long. The first year is all flat bench welds using TIG and MIG, 2nd year is all vertical up welding, 3rd year is overhead welding and the 4th year is all about completing the portfolio which is done at work whilst making real production jobs.

There was only ever me and one other person in the workshop, I was his apprentice and he taught me everything I know. After learning from him for 8 years I moved on and went to a different company which is where I am today.

After I completed my apprenticeship after 4 years I decided to go back to the engineering college and take the advanced evening classes, doing even more different types of welding. I did the evening classes for an additional 4 years making it 8 years of college welding and even more welding qualifications.

Do you have a favorite welding project, either from your professional work or a personal project?

Yes, I do. I did my favourite project whilst I was at my last workplace. I used all the scrap from the scrap bins to make a giant metal arm and hand. I used the measurements from my own arm and hand. I have no idea why I made it, I think I was just short of work at the time. I shall try and attach a photo of the project.

Your welds look great -- perfect, actually! What tips would you offer to someone learning to weld?

Don't ever get disheartened if you can't produce a weld as good as someone else. Just keep practicing! If anyone criticizes your work, you should take it as positive feedback and use it to make yourself better. Don't be scared to try new processes.

How do you recommend that beginners and young people get started in the trades -- in the UK and more generally?

I'd say approach companies or write them letters about being interested and see if they have any places available. Contact the colleges and ask if there are any classes to take.

Thanks to @lunawelding for answering our questions. Check out his Instagram profile here


  • Johnny Bain

    Hey buddy, while I have welded off and on I’ll never get the results anywhere near your perfectionism. I am amazed at the beauty of your welds. I’m really surprised that you are not into the Space Agencies building rockets and things of that nature. I’m 65 and have Parkinson’s Disease,so I can’t Weld a straight bead if I had to.
    Your dedication to your profession is outstanding. Thanks for sharing your ARTWORK!!!

  • Bill Heller

    BEAUTIFUL! That is true craftsman, and this is truly artwork!

  • KY - Like the Jelly. 😝

    Beautiful words Mr. 👍
    Seen a lot of good ones being a Union Scaffolder for 3 decades and now a Piledriver/ Seen some terrible ones also.
    You definitely are good at what you do. Thanks for sharing.
    Got my first personal welder coming from YesWelder soon. Look forward to getting better at it myself.

  • Keno Smith

    What he said.. bad ass buddy..

  • David Shelton

    Your wedding is to be commended, as is your suggestion of people taking critical analysis of their welding from others to better their skills.

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