Photo of Luis Pacheco


Luis Pacheco

Demonstrating the potential of 3D printing with his software which teaches users to design their own models

Year Honored

Latin America

Hails From

"3D printing is becoming more widespread all the time. But technical knowledge and skills are required in order to take advantage of its full potential, otherwise the user is limited to printing models designed by others. Luis Pacheco wants to democratize the use of this technology, and to this end he has developed ScratchyCAD, a software program that teaches users to create three dimensional objects on a computer that can later be printed. This initiative has led to Pacheco´s recognition as one of MIT Technology Review, Spanish Edition´s Innovators Under 35 Mexico 2016.

When Pacheco was first introduced to 3D printing during his undergraduate studies in architecture, the first thing he did was to buy two 3D printers to offer products to his classmates. But soon, he changed his focus and began to produce his own printers through the company which he cofounded with his brother-in-law, MakerMex. After a successful Kickstarter campaign which allowed the company to open offices in the U.S., Pacheco discovered that ""there was already fierce competition in the 3D printer manufacturing market,"" he recalls.

Where there was an opportunity was in the educational sector. ""Every school wants a 3D printer, but later no one does anything with them because they are not capable of generating models,"" Pacheco points out. In this young innovator´s view, the problem is that ""teachers download templates but they don´t teach kids to generate their own models, they don´t develop their creativity."" Conscious of this situation, Pacheco decided to do something similar to Scratch, an environment where children learn to program, but focused instead on 3D printing.

Thus ScratchyCAD was born, which uses a block programming methodology to teach children to build objects and operate them in a simple and visual way. ""With ScratchyCAD, children learn math, geometry and programming, as well as how to create a virtual, tridimensional object,"" says this young innovator. ""The objective can then be printed or the children can go one step further and create their own solar system model which they can view through Google Cardboard, so it also allows the users to learn other things as well,"" Pacheco proudly highlights."