How to radius the harsh edges on your MacBook...

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by DHart, May 23, 2010.

  1. DHart macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #1
    I can't tell you what a wonderful difference in comfort this modification has made for my many hours per day use of my new MacBook Pro.

    I use the machine mostly on a lapdesk (as seen in photos below), but often on my lap while sitting on a sofa, sometimes on a pillow, often laying in bed, sometimes without the lapdesk but with a laptop stand, sometimes without either... basically all manner of positions. And quite often I found that the sharp edges of the machine bothered the HECK out of me. I haven't gotten cut as some folks have, but it's been quite uncomfortable now and then... a definite damper on my ergonomic use of the machine. And since Apple doesn't seem to want to change the situation, I decided to make the machine conform to me rather than me conform to it.

    About an hour with a good, fine-grade triangular steel file and some sandpaper and voila... the soft but harsh-edged aluminum unibody yields to the steel file and now my wrists and hands can swoop all around the face of my new MacBook Pro is total comfort.

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    Mine was not the most perfect job... if I take some more time, it can be close to perfect,
    but it's quite nice and effective as it is right now.

    Yes, the edges on MacBooks are stupid sharp AND there is a simple solution... requiring TOUGH LOVE!

    Get or buy a fine-grade steel file (a three-sided fine-grade steel file of about 1/4" width is perfect), some magic tape, some plastic sheeting or paper, and a little fine and extra fine sandpaper.

    Using Scotch magic tape (easily removed) and plastic wrap or paper, seal off every port on both sides of the main body and the keyboard and the trackpad... seal and tape off the entire top of the keyboard surface up to about 1/4" from the front and side edges (the offending edges).

    Play the soft aluminum edges with long, even strokes of the file... basically you want to radius that nearly knife-sharp 90 degree edge into a nice rounded profile. You can really dig in at first to cut right through that offensive sharp edge!!! You will greatly enjoy the revenge you are now taking against that nasty edge that has bugged you for too long! You are going for a nice rounded edge, not just a slightly dulled sharp edge.

    It will be especially rewarding to cut off those two exceedingly sharp and nasty points on each side of the center opening indentation! Slice those bad boys GONE!

    Take your time (took me about 45 minutes) and work carefully and evenly for a nice cosmetic result. Then gently sand with fine sand paper wrapped around a stiff surface (so you can control exactly how the sandpaper contacts the edge). Go to super fine for the nicest edge.

    When you're done, blow off the screen and the rest of the machine with canned air (keep the canned air container level so it blows only air and not freezing liquid!). Now, remove the wrapping. Then dust with a soft cloth.

    The result? Beautiful, soft rounded edges on the front and sides of your MacBook/MacBook Pro. It gives a nice satin, sculpted look to the edge and adds great value to the machine for every minute of your use and for anyone who would have the machine when you're done with it. I've done this to two plastic MacBooks and my aluminum MacBook Pro and now they are a dream to lean my wrists and hands on... at any angle, whenever and wherever I happen to contact the body of the computer during use. HIGHLY recommended enhancement to the machine, especially if you use yours a LOT, as I do!

    I recently did this to my two month old 13" MacBook Pro and plan to give this to my wife when I buy a new 15" i7 MacBook Pro in the near future. First thing I will do to that new machine is the same TOUGH LOVE rounded edge procedure. Makes an amazing difference in comfort.

    Sell the computer because of the edges? That's throwing the baby out with the bathwater! These machines are the best laptops with the best OS going, don't let the sharp edges keep you away from it.... you can deal with that easily.

    I'm a firm believer of making a product suit you to a "T", especially if it's a product you interface with for hours everyday! :apple:

    If you want the soft, rounded edges on your machine, get that file and take your aggressions out on those harsh edges!

    As for resale, when the day finally comes to sell this machine (probably two or three years away as I will pass it to my wife and then, perhaps to one of the kids, then...?) the next buyer will be someone who is thrilled to have the rounded edges rather than knife-blade edges and it won't hurt resale a bit. In fact it could be argued that it would make this machine more desireable (at least to some folks) than one with sharp edges.
     
  2. PsychOfMSE macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #2
    Erm...

    Macbook's have an anodized coating right?

    And filing that off is not good...right?

    Now your edges will discolour and leave black **** all over your wrists...

    Good one!
     
  3. khunsanook macrumors 6502

    khunsanook

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    East Asia
    #3
    Glad you solved your problem.

    I don't even notice the edges of my MBP. They never come in contact with my wrists.
     
  4. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #4
    Nah.... it's easy to clean aluminum. Have you ever worked with aluminum before?
    I do gunsmithing and have worked with bare aluminum frames on 1911's... I've
    got one Kimber aluminum frame 1911 with bare edges that has stayed perfect
    for years... no worries.
     
  5. PsychOfMSE macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #5
    So you're going to have to clean it a couple times a day, every day, for the rest of the time you own it.

    Filing it down was a bad idea man. You're gonna deal with black buildup on it for a long time.

    Not to mention, this WILL affect re-sale value. I know for damn sure I wouldn't pay the same amount of money for your MBP as I would the same model un-modified.
     
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core

    miles01110

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2006
    Location:
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    #6
    It's powder-coated, not anodized.
     
  7. RITZFit macrumors 65816

    RITZFit

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2007
    Location:
    In my Corner
    #7
    It might be good to throw some type of clear coat over those exposed edges.
     
  8. PsychOfMSE macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #8
    Well still, there's a protective coating for a reason :D
     
  9. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #9
    No worries on my part. If you want to worry about it, go for it! :)

    I ask again, have you ever worked with a fine edge of bare aluminum before?
    Won't be a problem.
     
  10. PsychOfMSE macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #10

    Hey man do whatever you want! I've just seen this done on another forum and the guy regretted it since he had to deal with black crap all over his wrists every day.

    I just know I'd never take a file to my multi thousand dollar machine.

    Good luck!
     
  11. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #11
    Sounds like someone with corrosive perspiration... a bass player in a band I was in had that and within about 1 hour of playing with a new set of strings, they were corroding. Those folks definitely need a protective barrier of some sort between themselves and any metal they touch.

    I've been using this machine for hours a day for weeks with no problems of any kind. And no black crud.
     
  12. mikes70mustang macrumors 68000

    mikes70mustang

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Location:
    US
    #12
    You forgot the other option, typing properly and not resting your wrists, problem solved, value still in tact.
     
  13. Tom71 macrumors regular

    Tom71

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #13
    I'd probably prefer having black marks on my wrists than these stupid sharp edges ;) Anyway, my solution was to buy an external keyboard and operate it with external monitor in clamshell mode. That way the stupid sharp edges are out of harm's way. But I *will* go for the filing eventually.
     
  14. PsychOfMSE macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    #14
    the way i sit and use my MBP typing isn't a problem, just using the trackpad. Looks something like:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/47495468@N07/4634023248/

    Causes the middle of my palm to rest on the sharp edge.

    I agree, it sucks sometimes but worth it to use this beautiful piece of machinery.
     
  15. Tom71 macrumors regular

    Tom71

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #15
    I'd pay extra for a filed down MBP. Value raised :)
     
  16. cyclical macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #16
    You don't really believe that, do you?
     
  17. Tom71 macrumors regular

    Tom71

    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2010
    #17
    Yes exactly. That's whats driving me crazy. And I would say it's even worse on the 15in because the edge goes a bit closer to the wrist... Perhaps we should LIFT OUR HANDS from the trackpad while, eh, tracking and mousepointing. Yeah, our mistake.
     
  18. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #18
    People use laptops in all manner of ways and positions. And you may not realize it, but some people like to rest their hands on the surface of their laptops and there's nothing "WRONG" about it!

    Telling people who dislike the sharp edge to "type properly" is rediculous.

    But you have every right to say it. Your "contribution" hasn't helped me any, but thanks for trying to be helpful. Do you have anything else to contribute?

    As for the black residue... that is not something for most people to worry about. Like I've said, in a couple of weeks usage, perhaps seven hours a day of usage, I have no black residue. How do you explain that?
     
  19. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
    #19
    I can't believe you did that. You've got guts :D
     
  20. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #20
    Of course I do. Resale is no problem. YOU may not want it and some others may not want it. But how many people have to like it before I sell it? ONE!

    The next stop for this machine is my wife. And she loves the rounded edge. After that? Who knows, give it to one of the kids, give it to a church, sell it to some ONE who appreciates the rounded edge, simple! No worries, mate! In the meantime, it has met my needs much more comfortably so that it did before.

    This machine doesn't have to "please" every naysayer on this forum. Just one person who appreciates the nice rounded edge. That's all. And right now, that's me! And I'm really loving the rounded edges. I don't worry about what anyone else does with their machine, why should you worry so much about what I do to mine?

    You act like I'm going to suffer some dramatic devaluation or something... it's absurd. By the time I'm done with the computer, it's value will have dropped significantly anyway - and not because it has rounded edges. I may give it to one of the kids, or donate it to a church or something. Who knows? Or really cares? Not me.

    Do I sound worried about it? I'm not. You can worry about it if you like, but I'm fine. :)
     
  21. Eddyisgreat macrumors 601

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2007
  22. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #22
    Really? Why? I'm thrilled with the result and those who get the machine after me will like it too. I don't see what all the fuss is about. Really. It looks great and more importantly, feels great to the wrists.

    I do things like this all the time. Modify things to make them better for me. I take 1911s worth thousands and reshape magwells, grip frames, and such. No guts required. Just make it how you want it to be and enjoy it! It amazes me how some folks worry so much about what other people do. :)

    Actually... if I go back in time far enough to BEFORE I started cutting on and modifying things, I can remember some trepidation before diving into something like this. I think I was about seven years old and decided to take the telephone apart just to see what was inside. It got back together somehow.

    After years of taking things apart, diving into things that people are often afraid to dive into, doing custom mods to things, I don't worry about things like this anymore. I'm more concerned with making my life better and not at all worried about modifying things. I guess it took years of doing it and enjoying the result (I don't do stuff like this half-assed anyway) for me to be perfectly comfortable and happy with doing it.

    So all I can say is.... if doing something like this totally freaks you out and would make you lose sleep. DON'T DO IT. Otherwise... go for it. In any event... don't worry. Be happy.
     
  23. cyclical macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    #23
    No worries here :) You made the claim that your modification "won't hurt resale a bit". I was just voicing my skepticism.
     
  24. notjustjay macrumors 603

    notjustjay

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2003
    Location:
    Canada, eh?
    #24
    Truthfully, I bet if you didn't mention the mod, 99% of people would never even notice.
     
  25. DHart thread starter macrumors 6502

    DHart

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2008
    #25
    notjustjay.... perhaps some truth to that, even if the number might be somewhat lower. Truth is, a good number of folks would actually WANT it that way. ;)

    In any event, after I finish with it and then my wife finishes with it, and then perhaps one of the kids finishes with it, when I finally do decide to let it go...it's not necessary for EVERYone else to want it... just one person, whoever that next one next person happens to be. And at that time the value will be relatively little due to age. By then I may just donate it to a church or something. This is nothing I would worry about. Funny thing is, I still have a few Macs around the house that haven't been used in years, including a 2.2GHz white MacBook that's just a couple of years old. Just not a priority to me to sell them. To make it sound like the machine has been horribly disfigured or something is crazy. It looks wonderful!
     

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