A Mexican’s 'pancake printer' brings new flair to breakfast


“I was reading Make magazine and my daughter asked me what I was doing. So I told her: I’m reading an article about a person who built a lego pancake machine. Her eyes opened wide and she told her sister: daddy is going to make a lego pancake machine!”

That’s how it started.

“Then I had to build a pancake machine out of legos for my daughters,” said Miguel Valenzuela, a Mexican national who lives in San Diego.

Valenzuela spent the next six months building a pancake machine out of legos, and then uploaded a video to YouTube. In one day it got 10,000 views. So Valenzuela started taking his creation to invention fairs and “received a lot of positive feedback.” He finally got an acrylic prototype made in 2011 and continued to showcase his invention on the Internet and at fair showcases.

“More and more people were asking me to take this to the next level,” he told Fusion. “That’s when a company called Storebound approached me. They wanted to take PancakeBot to market.”

Valenzuela and Storebound began a Kickstarter campaign and received $460,000 from pancake lovers. The creator entered into a partnership with the company where he gets a cut out of the sales and continues to have input in designs. “I told them I wanted the software to remain open source so people could create their own designs and also hack the machine.”

PancakeBot could well be an American Dream story. Valenzuela arrived to the United States with his mother from Mexicali when he was just three months old. They settled in Selma, California. “We crossed la linea,” he said, “now I have papers and dual citizenship.”

Valenzuela is married to a Norwegian woman and has two daughters. He said his family is the true inventor. “It was my daughters who inspired this.” And that’s the story behind the creation of the PancakeBot, a Mexican father just trying to please his children.

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