There are two things that I love about this iPhone abacus case. One is that it’s an actual working abacus. The second is that I learned that you can stain and dye 3-D-printed plastic as if it were wood or leather.
3-D-printed objects usually have a rough, slightly porous feel. I get sent product prototypes from time to time and I’ve gotten used to the feel of them. They’re a little like sugar cubes, if sugar cubes were made form plastic and not soluble in water. This case, by joabaldwin on Shapeways, is “polished and smooth white,” and can “you can dye it if you submerge it into a colored liquid, like a strong black tea, or if you stain it with wood varnish.”
Other than this DIY opportunity for an already DIY product, the abacus case is a pretty neat toy, and will let you calculate the tip in a restaurant even when your iPhone’s battery is dead, or the phone has been killed by a spilled beverage (pro tip: if the waiter dumps wine on your iPhone, the correct tip is 0%).
The Apple-logo shaped beads run along plastic rods, and spin freely when the iPhone is not in the case. Want one? Then grab your $24 and get over to Shapeways on the double, before Apple notices somebody is selling products featuring its logo.