The look of the abacus should not be so hard to look at as many people think it is. The box that surrounds the abacus is only there to keep the poles in place, which hold the beads.
The poles are located at the same spacing from each other for easy math use. The bar in the middle of the box is the border between heavan and earth beads. The Earth beads are located on the left while the heavan beads are located on the right.
The number of poles are different according to the amount of digits needed for a calculation. If one were wanting to calculate in the hundreds one would only have three poles or rows. If millions were being used nine rows would be on the abacus to match the amount of digits.
There are many other looks of the abacus but the most used is the boxed or Chinese abacus. Another type is the Abox abacus which is a flat stone with scratches in the stone for a marble to be placed. When the marble is put on or moved to a side the same thing happens as if you used a Chinese abacus.