Awards & Engraving

September '16

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46 • A&E SEPTEMBER 2016 lunch spots. With 1,800 square feet, the more pragmatic Alison Todd thought that location would provide plenty of room for quite a long time. But another four years later—in June 2016—the couple and their employees moved to a 4,000-square-foot space in the same building. The new location allows for the Kern HSE 400 laser system and a new UV printer, with its 4-foot by 8-foot bed, to be in a separate room from the inventory, the two Epilog engravers, and the packaging area. That arrangement will help keep the machines clean, Braden Todd says. "I love the massiveness that Kern gives you," he says. "You can dial in every- thing to the finest point of detail." With the Kern laser engraver, Glassmith2 cre- ated steel countertop caps for a brewery, complete with its logo, for cooks to put pizzas on. "Now, they want metal wall art," Braden Todd says. Employee Eric Deland, who will be in charge of the new UV printer when it arrives, says the Kern has a big learning curve. He's been taking notes to make sure he doesn't damage it and describes the machine as the company's bread and butter. The UV printer will allow Glassmith2 to add color, graphics and even photos to its products, as long as they are less than 4 inches thick. "It seems that it just brightens up everything," Braden Todd says. STARTING THE RACE IN BOULDER Even though Braden Todd majored in marketing at Penn State, he enjoys the creative side of designing awards and the challenge of engineering those designs into viable products. "I guess it goes back to where I get my artistic drive and satis- faction out of designing them," he says. "I am constantly thinking about a new design, a new material, a combination of materials, and then the (feasibility) of being able to produce them and have it as a functional award." Before he was making awards, though, he was selling his art. He contacted orga- nizers of the Bolder Boulder—a 10K race that drew more than 50,000 participants in 2016—about selling some of his work at the event's expo. He ended up being approved to make trophies for the race's professional runners. There, he met the director of another race and, after some discussions, began making the awards for that race, as well. Through word of mouth among race directors, Glassmith2 began providing trophies for events around the country. "Within that network, it's a small com- munity. When one race director picks you up, they tell another one, and then it grows pretty crazily," Braden Todd says. Eventually, one of the races he was con- tracted with sold to Ironman, which liked his work. He began supplying awards to Ironman in 2011 and, in 2015, became a partner—Glassmith2 now provides all the trophies for about 40 Ironman events around the country. "We build the blank trophies all at once, then in the month before the race, we'll custom engrave it with the race infor- mation, the age group information, all of that stuff," says Alison Todd. Next year, the company will add Ironman events in Panama and Puerto Rico to that schedule, Braden Todd says. He redesigns the Ironman awards each year. "It takes a lot of hard work and con- stantly being creative to find new, inno- vative ways to make an award," he says. He's not limited in what materials he can use, but he's aware that large stone awards wouldn't be practical to ship. Awards for local races are always dif- ferent, however. "He likes to do these spe- cial ones for Boulder," Alison Todd says. That's not a surprise, considering that Braden Todd is a sixth-generation Boulder native. He's made stone awards for the Bolder Boulder as well as the Boulder Peak Triathlon; its carved top is similar to the view of the Rocky Mountains from Colorado's Front Range. While he used river rocks once, he commonly employs granite, flagstone and marble, he says. Working with stone is difficult, though. When you are sandcarving, your left arm turns into a beast, Braden Todd says. "Even the cutting process is very intensive and demanding physically." REACHING THE NEXT PEAK Because Braden Todd works to provide his customers with uncommon products, he must work diligently to communicate with them. Alison Todd says, "A lot of times cus- tomers don't exactly have a vision, then Alison Todd replaces an engraved mug in the Epilog Laser Helix 24 X 18 as she and the staff prepare a large order for the Aspen Valley Marathon event in July 2016. IMAGES COURTESY VICTORIA A.F. CAMRON Stainless-steel cups engraved for the Aspen Valley Marathon's half marathon are ready to be packaged and sent to the client. The design features snow- capped mountains, reminiscent of Colorado's Rocky Mountains, pine trees and clouds. Braden Todd makes adjustments to the CAD program before the Kern HSE 400 laser system begins cutting out aspen-leaf-shaped trophies for the Aspen Valley Marathon, which was in July 2016.

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