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Dell Latitude E6530 Lid Polishing

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by jasonmerc, May 24, 2019.

  1. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    I took the leap of faith with my Latitude E6530 and discovered that the center grey panel on the lid was made of anodized aluminum. I wanted to change its color around to be a bit more unique (and my friend got a 6440 with a silver finish and I liked how that looked more), so I decided to polish it down to a reflective mirror finish. This SHOULD work with the entire 6X30 lineup, as well as the 6X20 lineup, since TO MY KNOWLEDGE they're the same externally.

    If you want to get a finish like this for yourself, @Dannydet said that car wrapping companies might be able to apply a wrap/coat thing to your laptop for a decent price. This is the easy way out if you don't want to risk frying or melting anything with acidic chemicals. If this sounds appealing, hit up Google or the local Yellow pages. If you're like me though and want to do this yourself, here's how I did it:

    First I had to cover the thing up with tape to seal off the sides. I used electrical tape and then masking tape over it. I wouldn't recommend this looking back, instead use just electrical tape all around it, wrapping it from the bezels on the top of the screen to the bottom of the computer covering up all the holes and ports. Wrap it tight so no liquids can get in there. If you want, do a double layer just to be safe since some of the chemicals here can be pretty acidic. You really want to take your time for this part to make sure you're not only closing off all points of entry for liquid, but defining the area you want to work with nicely as well. This tape will act as a border that defines the area that gets sanded and polished. Don't be sloppy like I was or you may end up with some jank results.

    Once it's securely covered and liquid proofed along the sides and bezels, generously spray some Easy Off oven cleaner on it. It needs to be the yellow can kind, I hear the blue can "odorless" kind doesn't work too well. Make sure it starts to bubble up all over the surface area. If it looks like you missed a spot put some more on there. Sit and wait ~10 minutes and let it do its thing. You might want some gloves and goggles for this part too, and to be in a well ventilated area.

    [​IMG]

    Once you let it sit for a good long while take a roll of paper towels with you, and start scraping away at the finish. it should come off like mud. Once you scrape it all off it should look something like this:

    [​IMG]

    Once you clean it all off with a clean towel do the same thing one more time, just to make sure. I did it 3 times but I think that was overkill, it's never going to be perfect with just this. Once you're satisfied and cleaned it all off, it's time to move onto the fun part--sanding!

    I started off with a 400 grit wet or dry sandpaper. I used my fingers to lightly coat the top with some water before sanding. The first layer of sanding might take a while, especially if you're like me and you have a pretty bad scratched and dented lid where it's all uneven. If you have a sanding wheel for this next part, you probably already know how to use it so just go ahead and do that, being careful to not push down on it TOO hard. If you're like me and you need to do it by hand, I did a cross-hatching technique. I went up and down with the sand paper thoroughly both ways, then spun it around 90 degrees and did the same thing. I repeated this until it made a full rotation, then I used some dish detergent and water to clean it off with some paper towels. You might have to do this multiple times with the 400 grit paper. It might look kinda crappy too at this point but don't worry, it'll get better as we go on. (I forgot to take a picture at this point, sorry)

    The next step is to do pretty much the same thing with slightly finer paper, I used 600 grit. This is what it looked like when I was done with that. Far from done, but starting to take its form nicely. Notice how in the next picture the tape I use around my laptop looks different. I had to replace the masking tape because the chemicals were getting under there and loosening its grip. This is why I say to use electrical tape all around!

    [​IMG]

    After that was 1500 grit paper. It'll be better still at this point but still far from done (I forgot to take a picture here again).

    At this point I think you can go one of two ways. If you have the finer grit paper or you have a wheel for it, move onto sandpaper with grit in the 2000s, then maybe finish off with somewhere in the 3000s or 4000s if you'd like. Since I had neither, I moved onto brass wool at this point. I started with coarse brass wool and did the same technique as the sandpaper, with the addition of making circles around the surface as well. By this point it should really start to look like a decent mirror finish.

    [​IMG]

    Unfortunately you can see that I was a jackass and gave too much attention to one spot there. Try to avoid doing that if possible, it messes with the look a bit. If it does happen you might be able to buff it out with polish, but I wasn't really able to with mine. Maybe if I had a proper wheel I could. Anyway, after this I moved onto the fine grit brass wool and did the same thing. At this point it had a pretty good mirror finish, despite my messed up splotch there. Unless you're looking directly at it you really don't see it, especially in well lit areas.

    [​IMG]

    When your sanding is down to the level you want it to be at, it's time for some polish. I used some Brasso with a couple of old socks to put it on there. You really need to take your time to rub it in there to get the full effect, or it'll just end up looking even duller and worse. If you have any blemishes like I did, now's a good time to try and clean those up.

    After that, make sure the surface is dry and cleaned up, unwrap your latitude from its tape cocoon, and pray to god it turns on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Despite my poor taping efforts I have a halfway decent border defined around this thing. It may be uneven if you look really closely at it, but I don't really care, it looks good enough. Just make sure you learn from my mistakes if you try this out for yourself and yours will look even better.

    The goal of this was originally to replicate the silver finish of the 6X40 series, but once I started I realized the potential here and took it all the way to a mirror polished finish, and boy am I glad I did. If any of you try this out let me know how it goes, or if you have tips to do it better please share them!
     


    #1 jasonmerc, May 24, 2019
    Last edited: May 24, 2019
  2. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    That looks fantastic. Thanx for posting this. Gives me an idea for my old Asus transformer tablet I have lying around.
     
    jasonmerc likes this.
  3. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    If that has an aluminum backing like mine did go for it. Just be careful if there's any tiny speaker holes or mic holes though. If it's another metal like steel, I can't guarantee my method will work so be cautious
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  4. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    It's definitely metal.... and that's a good a point on speakers and mic's. I have to first dig it out somewhere.......lol
     
  5. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    If they're the very small circular holes you might be able to CAREFULLY jam a bunch of wooden toothpicks in there. It would be a pain to do but might do the trick. I look forward to seeing it if you actually complete it though, probably gonna look way cleaner than mine
     
    ocnbrze likes this.
  6. Unforgiven

    Unforgiven ...eschew obfuscation...
    Moderator

    ARE. YOU. FREAKING. KIDDING. ME. Dude, for one, holy crap that is an impressive risk to try it out. :eek: But seriously you made it work and it came out great. Absolutely incredible.

    So, um, we got you a developer badge and I think that's the best we got. I'll ask @NightAngel79 if he has an "I took caustic chemicals and abrasives to my expensive electronics and it not only still works but looks sweet" badge, but I think you are out of luck.
     
    NightAngel79, jasonmerc and ocnbrze like this.
  7. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    Make a Toxic Fumes Survivor badge, that Easy Off can get to you. ocnbrze might need one too if he tries this with his asus tablet
     
    Unforgiven and ocnbrze like this.
  8. ocnbrze

    ocnbrze DON'T PANIC!!!!!!!!!

    Naaaah I have a gas mask.... no dying from fumes for me........ lol
     
  9. Dannydet

    Dannydet Extreme Android User

    You did a great job!
    There is an option instead to have it wrapped with colored vinyl or a mirrored wrap to produce the end result.
    Most car wrap companies can do it for a low cost.
     
    Unforgiven and ocnbrze like this.
  10. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    Your shirt doesnt count.... I learned the hard way :p
    I'm gonna post exactly what you said in the OP, which will probably end up saving someone's laptop from certain doom. Thanks for letting me know
     
    Dannydet, ocnbrze and Unforgiven like this.
  11. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    Unfortunately I went too far. Tried the process again starting with the 1500 grit today to fix that one blemished splotch I had on there, and now no matter how much I polish it I can't get the mirror finish back. Let this serve as a warning to everyone, if you take it too far it'll go matte and not very reflective
     
  12. psionandy

    psionandy Extreme Android User

    Oh my.. (I'm using a 6440 right now!, but it isn't as cool as those)
     
  13. jasonmerc

    jasonmerc Well-Known Member
    Recognized Developer Thread Starter

    If its still anodized aluminum you should be able to do it all yourself pretty easily. Just don't do it too far like I did, or else it'll go right back to the start of being a dull silver. Trying to fix my mistake now as we speak

    EDIT: Another coating or two of Easy Off looks like it will fix the dullness. Once this is done I'm gonna go straight to the brass wool

    EDIT 2: I got it to be a shiny finish again but unfortunately its a bit duller than before. I think I'm gonna try a different polishing compound, maybe see if my friend has a wheel I can steal
     
    #13 jasonmerc, May 26, 2019
    Last edited: May 26, 2019
  14. NightAngel79

    NightAngel79 Bounty Hunter
    Administrator

    Hmm, I read that as Toxic Avenger at first and was like HELL YEA! Toxic Fumes Survivor is ok also i guess, LOL
     
    jasonmerc and Unforgiven like this.
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