What glue to use on cracked TiBook?
November 21, 2004 5:41 AM   Subscribe

Some months ago I dropped my Titanium PowerBook, and cracked the case on the lighter-coloured surround of lower case. The damage is only cosmetic, it has continued to work flawlessly since, with some sticky tape over the crack.

The tape is beginning to wear out, however, and instead of re-applying it, I thought of just glueing the crack together. What glue would work?
posted by Mwongozi to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
J-B Weld
posted by majick at 6:41 AM on November 21, 2004

Ideally you'd want to take the case apart and splint the crack from the inside with a plastic shim and some epoxy. I have exactly the same problem with my PB and the crack is right under my wrist so it takes a lot of strain. Depending on where yours is I'm not sure just gluing the crack will do it, plus any glue you apply from outside will need to be sanded down, which could damage the finish.
posted by hugo at 6:52 AM on November 21, 2004

If you do decide to take it apart, be careful taking off the bottom panel. The "titanium" is really thin and can bend easily. But if you're cautious you shouldn't have any problem.
posted by bcwinters at 7:41 AM on November 21, 2004

majick, you beat me to it. J-B Weld is the greatest stuff ever. Just don't spill any. I still have a little splotch of the stuff on my counter.
posted by anomie at 7:53 AM on November 21, 2004

Crazy. If the crack fits cleanly and smoothly together, that is.
posted by stp123 at 8:16 AM on November 21, 2004

I used Crazy Glue™ with great success.
posted by jpburns at 8:47 AM on November 21, 2004

You might want to consider testing with something non-permanent, like hot melt glue first, to see if you prefer the finished result.
posted by shepd at 10:40 AM on November 21, 2004

Just to let you know, isopropyl alcohol will remove hot melt glue in seconds, when you need to remove it.
posted by shepd at 10:41 AM on November 21, 2004

"Super" glues - cyanoacrylates - will leave "ghosts" or hazing on almost any plastic or polymer, except maybe teflon, and well, not much sticks to teflon, even super glue. Also, superglue is insanely brittle. It doesn't adhere well to plastics, and it doesn't stand up to repeated stresses well. It'll flake off eventually, the crack will reopen, and you'll be left with a crusty mess that makes it difficult to reglue with anything, superglue or not. (Because then the primary surface would now be that crusty superglue mess, which will flake off eventually.)

Two part epoxies (like JB weld and others) are less likely to discolor plastics, much less likely to decompose and flake, but are a pain in the ass to work with. If you mess up or misapply you'll have to break out a Dremel or other grinding tool to clean it off.

If the damage isn't threatening the structural integrity of the laptop, I suggest sticking with tape, especially duct tape or other fabric tapes like it. Sure, it's ugly, but it's pliant, it would seal dust out, it's easy to remove and reapply. You should be less worried about the aesthetics, and more worried about the function and risk involved in the repair, 'cause nothing is as ugly as a nonfunctioning laptop. And it's well known that duct tape fixes almost anything.

And yes, I have a laptop with duct tape on it. The choice between opening up a supercompact machine like the Fujitsu Lifebook C-series, cleaning it, machining a shim for a splice (and finding the room for it!!) and simply taping the thing closed from the outside was easy. Tape took seconds to minutes to apply neatly, splicing-gluing would have taken hours, if not days, and runs the likely risk of damaging the hardware inside.

You could even make a shim/support/splice that's applied from the outside, under the tape if you need something less flexible.
posted by loquacious at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2004

JB Weld is great, but even better are the two-part putty epoxies. You just hack off a chunk, knead it, and apply. No careful measuring of quantities, no mixing cups, no goopiness. I do find it best to wear a glove while kneading; the stuff is hell on skin.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:20 PM on November 21, 2004

My experience with two part epoxies is ancient, so there's better stuff out there I haven't used. Everything I knew was the liquid stuff, and I didn't like it much.

Most everything I break or use can be fixed or affixed by the Holy Trinity of Tape (Duct or other, including foams, extrusions, double sided AND velcro), Zip ties (or sometimes other nylon hardware), and Super glue.

Any job not applicable to that gets hardware. (Nails, hooks, nuts and bolts, etc.)
posted by loquacious at 7:48 PM on November 21, 2004

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