• Minturn uses 3-D design for new bathrooms

    MINTURN — Public restrooms aren’t normally associated with the phrases “work of art” or “cutting-edge technology,” but that’s just what seems to be the case with Minturn’s newest facilities.

    If you’ve been in downtown Minturn, then you may have noticed them already — two earthen-colored small buildings sitting near the river in Eagle Park. From afar, they look like small storage sheds, or maybe crumpled, gigantic cardboard boxes. Those are the town’s newest public restroom facilities, built and designed using innovative 3-D design technology.

    One of the walls of each of the buildings is composed hundreds of stacked plywood, each unique and cut by a computerized mill. The end result is what looks like a wooden wave or modern art installation. Some finishing touches are still needed for the facilities, which will be completed in April, but the end result is designed to look like the interior of a narrow stone canyon. The interiors are decorated with colorful metal butterflies and cutouts of pine trees.

    “We wanted to honor the mining and railroad history of Minturn, so it’s made to look a little like a mine shaft,” said Minturn Planning Director Janet Hawkinson.

    The idea began when Minturn decided it needed public restroom facilities to accommodate its bustling Minturn summer markets. As town staff began looking into buying pre-made, concrete facilities, they were shocked at the price — a one-stall restroom building went for $175,000.

    Hawkinson has done work with 3-D modeling and thought the restrooms would be a good candidate project for the technology. The town was lucky enough to enlist the help of some experts on the subject, including Boulder-based LaN Architecture and Minturn’s own LGM, a 3-D printing company, and the project began to take shape.

    The unconventional bathrooms are also saving money — the two restrooms plus landscaping only came in at $100,000, which was funded both with a grant from Eagle County and a match from the town of Minturn.

    “We think it’s fun because it’s functional art, and we get to utilize some of the talents in the community,” said Hawkinson.


    3-D design and fabrication is a growing field that’s gotten a lot of press lately, and computers have been used to design and fabricate everything from art installations to furniture to runway clothing. To Hawkinson’s knowledge, this is the first time the technology has been used to create something as utilitarian and mundane as public restrooms.

    Here’s how it works: Using a computer program, architects design a building. The components of the structure — in this case a wall — is broken down into many pieces, and each piece is given a dimension using an algorithm. Then, a special mill is used to cut each individual piece, and then final product is then assembled like an intricate Lego set. In the case of the Minturn bathrooms, the contoured wall was built out of 320 individually cut plywood pieces.

    Charles Overy, owner of LGM, played a big part in the design and fabrication. The company started out using 3-D printing to build architectural models, and now creates products such as airplane wings. However, Overy said he had never tackled a full-sized building until the restroom project.

    “We knew we wanted to build some full-sized things, so this was a great opportunity,” said Overy. “When you think about how we’re going to be building things in 20 years, I like to think that we’ll be doing a lot more pre-fabricated buildings, using this technology to cut panels and create building components.”

    The design of the buildings also addresses some of the common nuisances that come with public restrooms — they smell bad, they’re hard to clean and they tend to get vandalized. Minturn’s restrooms are made from materials that don’t absorb and keep odors, and they’re also designed for no-fuss cleaning with a pressure hose. The outer walls can be cleaned and the plywood portion can be replaced.

    “We could have had a green painted, concrete bathroom, but it was an opportunity to do a whole lot more,” said Overy.


    The restrooms were a community effort, which also helped cut down on costs, said Hawkinson.

    Besides LGM and LaN Architecture, Noble Welding and Fabrication from Gypsum, Jerry Sibley Plumbing of Minturn, the Edwards Building Center, Minturn Public Works and local steel artist Tom Cleaveland all pitched in with the project. The building became a learning project as well when Overy hired on Minturn high school student Mason Vance as an intern to help with the process. Vance did so well that Overly hired him for the summer as well. Overy said locally based contracts help expand and challenge the community.

    “I think government needs to innovate and push the boundaries of what the community can produce,” he said. “I think a lot of local communities have been doing a good job of that. For this project, all the money came right back to Eagle County, which is great.”

  • Check out Minturn’s new public restrooms

    MINTURN – Janie Viehman will tell you that the Scarab store, they sell things that are … a little different.

    "Trinkets and treasures and jewelry, it's all handmade and one of a kind," Viehman said.

    The same thing can be said about most of the things you will find around the small mountain town.

    "Anything odd and different. We like to stand out," Viehman said.

    That might explain what's standing just down the road. These two strange cubes seem to be attracting a lot of attention, with residents and tourists stopping by for a closer look at Minturn's two new public restrooms.

    It might not seem like exciting news, but Minturn's town planner Janet Hawkinson says people are not only happy to see them, but interested in how they were built.

    Inspired by Minturn's mining history, they were built using innovative 3D technology by a local Minturn business called LGM.

    It's how the wooden walls, which roll like waves, were stacked with more than 300 pieces of plywood along a twisting, turning and bulging path -- creating one of a kind public restrooms at a reduced cost.

    While the two cost about $100,000, town leaders say it's less than what traditional restrooms would cost.

    "We wouldn't have been able to build a standard bathroom. It would have been $150,000 for one stall," Hawkinson said.

    Plus this pair, like everything around Minturn, is unique. And this has the town checking out the bathrooms for a better look.

    "Cool, artsy handmade bathrooms, we all walked to the bathrooms together and checked them out and it was the big exciting event of the day," Viehman said.

    The bathrooms are still under construction but should be ready for the public by May.


    Pictures of the model built by LGM can be found in the portfolio section of the website.


    J. Landis and Sharon Martin present museum with $25 million lead gift to transform iconic, Gio Ponti landmark
    December 8, 2016

    The Denver Art Museum (DAM) today announced the largest standalone financial gift in the museum’s history. Board Chairman J. Landis Martin and his wife, Sharon Martin, pledged $25 million to the DAM as the lead gift and catalyst to launch the revitalization of the museum’s iconic North Building by its 50th anniversary in 2021. At the annual Collectors’ Choice fundraiser, held on December 8, 2016, the museum honored the Martins for their generous lead gift to support the North Building renovation, as well as their decades of philanthropy and leadership. In recognition of the Martins’ $25 million gift, the North Building will be renamed the J. Landis and Sharon Martin Building upon project completion.

    North Bldg ext low-res.jpg

    The Denver Art Museum’s iconic 1971 North Building, designed by Gio Ponti and James Sudler Architects of Denver.

    “The revitalization of the North Building—soon to be the Martin Building—will unify the Denver Art Museum campus, celebrate Gio Ponti’s iconic design and ensure the building’s relevance and stewardship for the next 50 years of its life,” said Christoph Heinrich, the Frederick and Jan Mayer Director of the museum. "Tonight we celebrate Lanny and Sharon Martin for their decades of service and guidance to the Denver Art Museum. The Martins’ longstanding commitment to our campus, major programs, special exhibitions and collection acquisitions has elevated the museum into a national and international destination. Their lead gift in renovating the North Building, a Civic Center anchor and modernist gem, will launch a new era for the museum and ensure the highest quality programs and service to our more than 700,000 annual visitors.”

    The North Building was designed by Italian architect Gio Ponti and Denver-based James Sudler Associates, which opened to the public in 1971. Its seven-story silhouette is celebrated as one of the first-ever high-rise art museums, and is the only completed building in North America designed by the renowned Italian modernist.

    OVAL ENTRANCE FROM 14TH VIEW_low-res.jpg

    Architect’s initial rendering of the North Building view from 14th Ave. Courtesy of Fentress Architects and Machado Silvetti.

    “The North Building is considered one of the most significant objects in the Museum’s collection, and our family is honored to support the much-needed rehabilitation required to bring it into the 21st century,” said Lanny Martin. “The Denver Art Museum is a beacon of creativity, representing the incredible depth of the cultural community in our region and it is critical that we continue to invest in it for the benefit of the entire community.”

    The North Building Project, estimated at $150 million, will for the first time unify the museum’s campus and upgrade the North Building in alignment with the Hamilton Building’s 21st-century systems and art experiences, including expanded resources for youth and school groups, additional gallery space and improved visitor circulation.

    Key project elements include bringing the museum’s renowned educational programs to the center of the campus, expanding gallery spaces for growing collections, including Design and Western American art, completing Ponti’s original vision for visitor access to stunning 7th-floor views, exterior site improvements, a new welcome center and updating environmental and other key systems to current-generation technology. The project is in the initial design phase, and the goal is to begin construction by the end of 2017 completing the project by 2021. More details on the design will be released in 2017.

    Lanny Martin on 7th Floor of North Building.jpg

    Board Chairman and lead North Building project donor J. Landis Martin and mountain views from the 7th floor of the Denver Art Museum's North Building. Courtesy of Tryba Architects.

    In 2013, the museum began structural assessment and feasibility studies to better understand the institutional needs and opportunities for the North Building. Those details were used to inform a 2015 master-planning process, led by Tryba Architects, to imagine possibilities for the structure. Early this year, the formal design process began with architectural partners Fentress Architects of Denver and Boston-based Machado Silvetti Architects. The goals of the project include stewardship of the building, connecting the campus and the neighborhood, and celebrating learning and engagement as the heart of the museum’s goal of delivering awe-inspiring art experiences to the community.

    Media Resources

    Online Newsroom:

    Denver Art Museum

    The Denver Art Museum is an educational, nonprofit resource that sparks creative thinking and expression through transformative experiences with art. Its holdings reflect the city and region—and provide invaluable ways for the community to learn about cultures from around the world. Denver metro citizens support the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), a unique funding source serving hundreds of metro Denver arts, culture and scientific organizations. For museum information, call 720-865-5000 or visit

  • LGM on the Air

    Charles is interviewed about 3D printing and his involvement with the Vail library adding 3D printing capacity.


  • Desktop Engineering Article

    Shop Around for a Rapid Prototyping Service Bureau

    When shopping for a rapid prototyping service bureau, word-of-mouth recommendations are your best guide. Lacking those, how do you find the service bureau that's best for you?

    by Mark Clarkson | Published March 1, 2013

    How do you shop for a rapid prototyping service bureau? First and foremost, says Charles Overy of LGM, a Minturn, CO-based provider of visualization and modeling solutions.

    "You need to be honest about what you know, what you don't know, what you want to learn, and the timeframe you have to learn it in," he says.

    "We can do a simple 3D print if someone brings us an STL file," Overy continues. "But if you've got a SketchUp drawing and you need a model to put in front of your client in two weeks, that's a whole different conversation."

    Maybe this isn't your first time around the block. "If you're using SolidWorks," says Overy, "and you know you want STL, and you've had experience with STL printing, and you know that the STL file you're generating is solid, and you're printing it at 1:1 scale, and you don't need help with draft angles then you can shop on price. If not, and if you don't have time to learn about 3D printing, look for a specialty bureau that works in your area of need in order to fill in some of the blanks."

    Specific industry knowledge can save you time and money, Overy says: "You may find that we can save you substantial money over an aggregator or another bureau, simply because we know the specifics of the industry." LGM primarily produces architectural models, but the same can apply to other industries.

    Overy suggests looking at a candidate bureau's website, to determine whether its body of work is applicable to your project. If they have the same stock samples as dozens of other sites, you might win on price, but lose on knowledge, support and value-added services.

    That last factor is a dealmaker for LGM, Overy notes: "About 50% of our revenues do'nt come from 3D printing; they come from value-added services related to taking the [customer's] data and getting it ready to 3D print."

    Know What You Want

    What are you trying to accomplish? Do you really need a metal part, or can you live with a prototype that looks like metal? Does it need to live and work in the real world, or just look pretty at a trade show?

    Do you have a design review next week? Then speed is your primary concern. Or maybe you need a prototype that looks and functions just like a real product. In that case, you'll need to go down a different path.

    "Sometimes we give a customer a price and they go into sticker shock," says Chuck Alexander of Solid Concepts, a rapid prototyping service provider. "When we dig a little deeper, we find out they don't need a cosmetic, functioning part; they just need something to pass around the table. The more detail you can provide, the easier it is for a service bureau to recommend the right thing."

    Dare to Compare

    There are a lot of rapid prototyping service bureaus out there. Shop around. "Don't stop at the first place," advises Michael Siemer of IMDS, a medical device outsourcing company. "Talk to at least three different companies."

    Just a quick conversation, he says, will usually give you a good feel for whether the company has the experience you need: "Are they trying to help you, or are they just trying to sell you? Some companies just want to make the sale, and you don't typically find that out until you get your parts back."

    Siemer says it's also important to find out whether a candidate bureau can back up its recommendation with good technical direction. And local, face-to-face service is key.

    "If I had a choice between two different companies and one would save me 10%, but was located in another state, I would pick the local company," he adds. "When I get my part and it's not exactly what I want, I can get help more effectively."

    "After all, when things go wrong," says Siemer, it's nice to have a "throat to choke."

    Realize AM's Limitations

    While metal additive manufacturing (AM) is a hot topic, there are more limits with metal AM than plastic, according to Siemer. It's also more expensive.

    "People think, 'I can spend $300 on a plastic prototype, maybe metal's just a little more.' It's not just a little more," he says, noting that metal parts and prototypes can easily cost five to 10 times as much as plastic. "Some people believe that because it's 3D printing, it can build whatever you draw. But additive manufacturing has limitations, just as with any manufacturing process. It has a lot more design freedom, but it's not perfect."

    Do you need a working part with a 0.010-in. living hinge? It's probably not going to happen, Seimer says: "That's one of the reasons to go to a service bureau, to get basic education about what additive manufacturing can and cannot do."

    A Matter of Size

    The size of your part is also a factor in choosing a service bureau.

    "Something large like a car bumper typically has to be built in multiple pieces and assembled," explains Terry Wohlers of Wohlers Associates, a consulting firm specializing in 3D printing. "These are more complex projects. You want the pieces to lock together, almost like a jigsaw puzzle."

    With that in mind, you want a service bureau that has the tools, skills and experience to pull it off. Another factor that is sometimes overlooked is the downstream processes, Wohlers says.

    "It's one thing to submit a file and have parts built, but it's a 'whole nuther thing' to process those parts--not only to knock the supports off or remove the excess powder, but to really clean them up and prepare them for whatever application you require," he adds. "If you want to present those parts at a show, they have to be polished up nicely, and typically painted or coated. Not everyone has those capabilities. Some people just 'strip-and-ship;' they clean the parts up and ship them out."

    You might need something a bit more refined, but that can take time, he says. "You can coat these parts so you can't tell how they were manufactured. They look injection molded. They look like finished products," Wohlers says. "But it takes a lot of expertise to get to that level of finish."

    No service bureau can do everything, he points out. Processes like chroming might have to be outsourced, which will add more time. But do you really care about the production speed? Maybe you can wait two or three weeks for your prototype. For a rapid prototyping bureau, two weeks isn't fast; it's slow. If you're willing to wait a little longer, it can sometimes save you money.

    Quality, Service and Information

    Another important consideration is a service bureau's quality control system. "Solid Concepts is a manufacturing company," notes Alexander, "so we treat [rapid prototyping] that way. All of our shops have ISO certifications. In lieu of those certifications, you have to start to dig deeper. How do they control their processes? How do they know they're not contaminating one material with another?"

    The key, he says, is to look for a company that's focused on service. "Plenty of people out there will build parts, but are they a service organization? That's something you want to focus on, especially if you're a new user.

    "The rapid prototyping industry--especially additive manufacturing--changes pretty quickly," Alexander adds. "If you're a design or manufacturing engineer, it's usually not your job to stay up to date on all this stuff. It is our job."

    A Diversity of Processes

    The experts agree that ideally, your bureau should be a diverse one.

    "Make sure you get the right solution, not just the process they have in-house," says IMDS' Siemer. If you go to a service bureau that only offers STL, for example, it's no surprise that that's probably what they're going to recommend. People sell what they have, so look for a service bureau with a range of manufacturing options.

    And don't forget traditional methods, such as computer numerically controlled (CNC), laser jet cutting, water jet cutting or urethane casting techniques.

    "The more a service bureau has to offer, the easier it is for you as a customer," Alexander concludes. "You don't have to work with multiple vendors."

    Contributing Editor Mark Clarkson is DE's expert in visualization, computer animation, and graphics. His newest book is Photoshop Elements by Example. Visit him on the web at or send e-mail about this article to

  • Google’s Economic Impact

    2009 Impact Study,  LGM is featured under Colorado.

  • Google Sketchup Blogs about CADpsan

    3D printing from SketchUp with CADspan: Now even better

    Tuesday, January 27, 2009 10:33 PM

    You might remember reading about a nifty 3D printing-from-SketchUp plugin called CADspan that we blogged about a few months ago. It would appear that the folks over at LGM (who make CADspan) have been busy since then. They've released a new version of the plugin, and here's some of what's new:

    • CADspan is now available for both Windows and Mac
    • It now supports SketchUp 7 (which we released in November)
    • File processing times are about 10x faster
    • The system is much more reliable (hooray for beta testing!)

    Here's a video that explains more:

    In related news, there's now a Pro version of CADspan that provides some extra benefits. Check out the Pro page on their website for all the details.

  • Printing the Future in Minturn

    From models to gadgets, local company LGM specializes in 3-D printing

    Scott Miller Tuesday 4-26-11

    The company’s main business is producing super-accurate architectural models. If you saw the models for the Solaris project in Vail, you’ve seen the company’s work. LGM also has clients all over the country and the world. While architectural models are as old as the business, for the past 10 years or so, LGM has specialized in the next phase of model-making. Instead of using plastic foam and knives, LGM uses printers. Reading sophisticated software developed in part by Overy, the printers use a combination of specialized powder and hardening resin. Once a print job starts, the printer lays down layer after layer of powder, with the resin — and color, if needed. After a few hours, a block of powder rises from the printer. After the loose powder is brushed or blown off, a model emerges, showing detail down to individual boards on deck railings, or stonework along foudations...Full newspaper Article

  • Shapeways blogs about CADspan

    Shapeways likes CADspan

    The CADspan engine uses your geometry to perform a virtual 'shrink-wrap' and outputs an entirely new STL file that describes the exterior of your CAD file. This new STL file is a single, solid object, ready to 3D print. This may of course lead to very expensive models, but it may just work perfectly in some instances, I would love to hear of anyones experiences with it.

    As well as the CADspan plugin and Cadspan Pro there is a neat little 3D print thickness calculator that you can use to calculate per 3D Printing machine/process.  May be very handy to solve wall thickness issues for Shapeways users.  Again I have not had the time to play with it yet so would love to get some feedback from any of the Shapeways community who try it out?


  • Visit from Tommy Payne

  • Xardas Blogs about CADspan


    CADspan Plug-in for Sketchup

    One of the things I've been doing since coming to work at Xardas has been to try to become more acquainted with the concepts of 3d design for rapid prototyping. We've got plenty of people to answer our clients' more technical questions, but knowing the process from beginning to end will help me, personally, better address your customer service needs as well.
    My background is in graphic design so I'm happiest working in Photoshop and Illustrator (or a pencil, or a paintbrush) - I have no CAD experience to speak of. So I'm starting out, like many of you non-engineers, with Sketchup. I've been through a bunch of very helpful tutorials and can now make a simple house, a vase, etc. I love how intuitive it all is, and I'm looking forward to really being able to do some cool things with it.
    This week I installed a plug-in that would be useful for many people designing for 3d printing. It's CADspan, it's free, and it helps you detect reversed faces and non-watertightness. It also lets you export an STL file. Did I mention that it's free? It also has a smooth/unsmooth option and various other tools I haven't played around with.
    I have yet to actually print any of my own designs, but as soon as I have a free moment I plan to try!

  • Vail high school student designs skate park

    VAIL — Cameron Chaney has been skateboarding ever since he can remember. He may just have an idea for something Vail has long lacked — a permanent skate park.

    Chaney, 14, is a freshman at the Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy in Minturn. For the past few years, he has been interested in 3-D drawing and design, and he has spent some time with the people at LGM, a Minturn-based company that specializes in 3-D design and printing. Chaney has now combined those interests in a design and quick YouTube video for a skate park in a seemingly unlikely spot — the open-air area between the north and south halves of the Lionshead parking structure.

    Chaney said his idea for the park was prompted by talking to Chad Young, of the Vail Recreation District. But this idea isn’t his first. He’s drawn the idea for a skate park near his school in Minturn and has also drawn a design for a more open-air park that might be somewhere in Vail.

    “I always have different ideas for different parks,” Chaney said.

    A handful of adults in Vail are impressed with Chaney’s work. And these adults — members of the Vail Town Council — have the pull to perhaps bring the design to life.


    For years, Vail has put a temporary skate park atop the Lionshead structure in the summers, then taken it back down in the fall. Officials say they’d like to find a permanent home for a skate park, but in Vail, finding a new home for just about anything is tough in a town that’s mostly built. Then there’s the matter of convenience and neighbors.

    Town officials are looking at a renovation of Booth Creek Park in East Vail. Town capital projects manager Todd Oppenheimer has drawn several possible options for the park, which now has an outdated playground and an unusable tennis court.

    During a Tuesday discussion, council members talked about the obstacles to putting a skate park there and mostly decided the location is inconvenient and, probably, subject to neighborhood opposition.

    Other sites are in similar straits. In fact, Oppenheimer has looked at several sites around town.

    “There are no perfect sites — most would have to displace another kind of recreation,” Oppenheimer said during Tuesday’s council meeting. Then council members got a look at Chaney’s idea.

    “I’m loving this for a lot of reasons,” council member Greg Moffet said.

    Perhaps the biggest reason is that a permanent structure at the parking area would eliminate one of the biggest reasons town officials put the seasonal skate park up in the first place — the fact that skaters were using the structure’s ramps and concrete walls, creating possible conflicts with cars and pedestrians.

    Putting a skate park in one of the town’s existing parks might not draw skaters away from the pavement and concrete they like, Moffet said. Something at the Lionshead structure would be easy to reach via town bus, handy to the recreation district’s youth center in the structure and close to places to grab a snack or cold drink.

    Young told the council that the structure Chaney drew up is smaller than what town officials might like. But he said, while there might be some waiting to use the facility, he believes riders would wait for a chance to run the course.


    “This is intriguing to me,” council member Dave Chapin said. “It’s for skateboards — you don’t have to be inside. And, this is a great use of a tight space.

    Oppenheimer said the structure would also be easy to shade from the summer sun with canopies or artwork. “It would enliven a completely dead space.

    Better yet, there are no neighbors to contend with.

    Mayor Andy Daly said the idea is worth a serious look.

    “I really want to commend Cameron on this,” Oppenheimer said. “For a young person in the community to go out on a limb like this is really impressive.”

    For Chaney, having one of his park designs adopted in his hometown would be a win in a lot of ways.

    First and foremost, he’d like to have a place he and his friends could go to ride — right now, the preferred spot is in Edwards, a bus ride away from home.

    Then, of course, there’s the idea of riding on something he’s designed.

    “I’d be really excited about it,” Chaney said. “It would be such a cool thing to happen.”

    And it might start a young designer on a path to even more success.

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