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Those earliest Macs might have been many things — square, heavy, a strange colour — but few people would describe them as “cute.” That, however, is exactly what Charles Mangin’s tiny 3D-printed replicas of these historical Macs are.
Mangin produced his first 3D model, a classic Macintosh, in 2013. He says: “I chose a Mac Plus to recreate since I had been collecting and hacking on vintage Macs for several years up to that point.”
Not interested in producing yet another plastic model sitting on a shelf without a purpose, Mangin turned his replica into a dock for a rectangular 6th generation iPod Nano. The tiny Mac’s screen was ideal to display album art while listening to music or using as a bedside clock. Which is why, when the Apple Watch was released, Mangin modified it slightly to make space for the watch and its charger.
The Apple Watch dock became so popular that it beat all his other design downloads on Thingiverse, while also becoming his top-selling product on Etsy.
Not so long ago, however, Etsy decided to withdraw his dock from their shop. Mangin said he is presently persuading the firm that other models that look similar, such as one model from Alibaba and another from Elago, are imitations of his invention — and that he is not the imitator.
Mangin has claimed that he does not have a problem if Elago should decide to copy his design because he has licensed it under Creative Commons. But he wants anyone who shares his work to at least add attribution. Etsy reportedly failed to provide a timely response when asked to comment.
Mangin is currently working on replicas of computers and peripherals. His next project is to make a phone case modelled after the Newton MessagePad, perhaps for Apple’s next iPhone.