5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Things About Cy Tymony


Los Angeles-based author and inventor Cy Tymony has shared 20 projects on the pages of MAKE, teaching us super sneaky and simple ways to use everyday objects to make things like the Mechanical Image Duplicator, the Mini Foosball Game, and the Origami Flying Disk. He’s also authored 10 volumes of his Sneaky Uses series, starting with the original, Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things, in 2003.

One Project You’re Proud Of:
1. Since there are already plenty of math books and videos on the market, there should not still be a math comprehension problem. But there is. It’s the main reason students drop out of school or drop their math classes — even engineers strugle with math. For years I have wanted to produce a math primer but with (I believe) improved graphics, analogies, and connections to everyday life. I could not really make it unique until I approached the subject as a DIY project book. I am especially proud of my newest book, Sneaky Math (to be released February 2014). Unlike other math primers, it is project-oriented and should especially appeal to many makers out there.

We can quickly forget things we see and hear, like books and videos. In the introduction I ask “What color is your math?” Decades later we can remember childhood trips, toys and gifts we coveted, and science and craft projects we made in school. Why? Because we produced and possessed them. You can usually remember the colors and textures of gifts from long ago but how about your math? Remember anything positive or at all? Why? Because there was nothing physically involved. I hope the DIY project theme of Sneaky Math will produce vivid and positive memories and increase enthusiasm in students.

tymony mechanical image duplicatorCy’s Mechanical Image Duplicator from MAKE Volume 17.

Two Past Mistakes You’ve Learned From:
1. Not perfoming exhaustive testing. You cannot have enough people around you to test your ideas. Sometimes you are too familiar with a project, whether a DIY kind or a writing project. If one person detects something missing or unclear, plenty more will too!

2. Turning in just what is requested. Try to do remarkable work, not just what is requested or that can make the grade. You’ll never regret it.

tymony micro foosballCy’s Mini Foosball Game from MAKE Volume 28.

Three New Books Every Maker Should Read:
1. Getting Started with Rasberry Pi by Matt Richardson and Shawn Wallace
2. Purple Cow by Seth Godin (about producing remarkable work and products)
3. Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder


Four Tools You Can’t Live Without:
1. Two hands
2. Libraries
3. Science museums
4. Online search engines

tymony origami flying diskCy’s Origami Flying Disk from MAKE Volume 10.

Five People/Things That Have Inspired Your Work:
1. Mom’s influence, direction, and support
2. Science Museums
3. Science kits
4. Forrest Mims III books like Getting Started with Electronics
5. And, don’t laugh, 1960s comic books that featured non-super-powered techno villains like Lex Luthor, Dr. Doom, The Fixer, and the Flash’s Rogues


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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at snowgoli@gmail.com or via @snowgoli.

View more articles by Goli Mohammadi


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