Aug 7, 2015 | By Alec

The FDM 3D printing market is ever expanding, it seems, and though most promise unique features, settings or prices, the reality is that many are quite comparable. That alone is enough to make the ANDI 3D printer a remarkable sight, as it is truly different from every other FDM 3D printer in every way imaginable. The ANDI, by Spanish product designer Irene Ródenas Sáinz de Baranda, is low tech, hand-powered and not very accurate, but has an important interactive and educational purpose.

As Irene Ródenas Sáinz de Baranda explains to, she is a product designer born and raised in Barcelona. 'I already finished my Design studies in ELISAVA School of Desing and Engineering of Barcelona and in October I will start the Interface Culture Master Program in Linz, Austria,' she says. 'This story started in November 2014, when I started working alongside my mentor, Raúl Nieves, in his little fab lab called Faboratory, established in Hangar, Barcelona.'

At the fab lab, Irene became fully aware of how 3D printers could become the future of manufacturing, and how important it actually was to fully get to grips with the exact workings of 3D printers. 'I knew that in order to develop a good final degree project I needed lots of passion and knowledge which is why I took it on as a challenge,' she tells us. The beginning maker set out to study 3D printing concepts, and especially the educational purpose they could play for the next generation. This project grew into the final degree project that ANDI really is. 'I kept asking myself whether children, who grow alongside these technologies know exactly what they are doing, if they completely understand which mechanisms are behind it all, or if they are just simply building as they go along as a cause of this rapid increase in making, building and obtaining fast results,' she explains.

And that, in a nutshell is how the ANDI 3D printer was developed. 'Andi tries to question the relationship between learning and new technologies by playing through a collaborative activity,' she says. She further explained that this project was born from the necessity for children to fully get to grips with the basic mechanisms behind technologies like 3D printing. While you can put a smartphone in a toddler's hands, he or she will never understand the usefulness if they don't understand how important different forms of communication are. That's exactly why ANDI seeks to give children an educational experience with the basic mechanisms of 3D printing, from deconstruction to construction and functionality.

While looking into ways to give children that experience, Irene eventually settled on a deconstructed, non-electric way of 3D printing. 'We use the same mechanisms but treated manually and immersed within interactive and collaborative activities,' she explains. ANDI has since grown into an interactive and collaborative game to ensure children see what making is, what parts are used to create a 3D printer, and how the mechanisms work at their heart. 'This machine works with a manual experience: the first part is building Andi by using the pieces and a colour code with the objective of kids understanding where each piece goes and why,' Irene explains. 'At the same time, a series of actions are developed from the machine that make it a collaboration, from building the axes X, Y and Z, to moving the bed and extracting the material.'

Check out the ANDI low-tech 3D printer in action here.

The ANDI 3D printer itself is essentially a Cartesian 3D printer, with X and Y axes on the same plane to give children the opportunity to understand how axes work. 'With these a square is formed which is what defines the base of the machine and the future sequences of actions that come from that,' Irene says. And as you can see below, the 3D printed results aren't fantastic, but that's okay as the educational purpose has already been solved. ANDI is capable of extruding just about any viscous material (it doesn't have to be molten), so that includes plasteline, clay or even food paste.

As the low-tech ANDI 3D printer is a final degree project, it is still a prototype that isn't quite perfect. Irene plans to continue work on it in September, to get the mechanics all functioning perfectly. Hopefully, she can eventually turn this into a full-fledged educational machine in the near future. After all, the next generation of makers have already been born. They just need to learn what they're capable of.



Posted in 3D Printers



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Irene wrote at 8/24/2015 7:41:01 PM:

That's true! Thanks for the constructive comment. I will try to improve all this little details

jack wrote at 8/8/2015 5:21:38 PM:

at the start of the video you can see how this is build. x-y rods are pulled only from one end so most likely they don't move easily. i guess you have to give some help by hand from opposite side while twisting a x/y knob.

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