Help! There's a hole in my computer!
September 22, 2008 8:30 AM   Subscribe

I have a Dell Inspiron e1505, and a small chunk of the white plastic frame around the keyboard/cpu area has broken off. How can I fix this?

I don't know how it first, I noticed some cracks in that area, then one day the piece was gone. For the past few weeks, I've had a piece of tape over the hole, but I'd like something more robust/permanent. Is there some sort of plastic/fiberglass/etc. repair solution I could use, that will be effective on a rounded surface?
posted by brandman to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)

Did you get the next business day warranty? As a guy who is really hard on laptops, let me say how impressed I am with that service. They will come right out and fix whatever needs fixing.
posted by mrbugsentry at 8:44 AM on September 22, 2008

You might try two-part epoxy. You can mix it thick and it might setup okay in that gap. Then you could lightly sand down any rough edges. You could just as easily wind up with a gooey mess though.

Personally I'd probably just learn to live with it.

If you're comfortable taking the laptop apart you can often find replacement bezel pieces like this on eBay - it'd help if you knew the part number. I also suppose you could order a replacement from Dell, but who knows what they would charge?

Incidentally I've seen several of those "white" Dell cases crack (in the white part) usually around the hinges. Something about that plastic is brittle.
posted by wfrgms at 9:13 AM on September 22, 2008

mrbugsentry: Is Bondo easy to use? Never tried it before. Re: next business day warranty...unfortunately, my warranty expired a while ago (computer's about 2 1/2 years old).

wfrgms: I don't know the PN and probably wouldn't feel comfortable disassembling it anyway (I recently replaced the HDD, that's about the extent of my capability in this space). I could probably just keep going as is...tape provides decent protection, but my kids tend to peel it off while they're playing games.
posted by brandman at 9:28 AM on September 22, 2008

I'd fix this with ShapeLock (aka FriendlyPlastic in art stores).

It comes as white plastic pellets. You put them in boiling water and they become a moldable putty. When they cool down, they're hard white plastic again. Perfect for something like this.
posted by zippy at 10:04 AM on September 22, 2008

I used epoxy to repair a missing chunk of a windowsill, so it'll definitely work. You will end up with an obvious patch visually - epoxy dries mostly clear. It is sort of gooey when you first mix it, but it's pretty thick, and it'll hold it's shape just fine.

Also, you should shake the computer, just to check if the fallen piece is inside the hole (if you haven't already).
posted by O9scar at 10:41 AM on September 22, 2008

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