Possible to make Aluminum Skin?

Discussion in 'Notebook Cosmetic Modifications and Custom Builds' started by Zephyril, Jun 8, 2013.

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  1. Zephyril

    Zephyril Notebook Enthusiast

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    Short Version: Is it possible to create an anodized aluminum "skin" to apply to a laptop?

    Long Version:

    So... although I'm a power user (and most likely aiming for a Clevo P150SM), I was shopping laptops for my fiancée*, and I was struck by how many premium notebooks have aluminum in their construction. For gaming laptops, you have Alienware, Clevo P170xM, and maybe an MSI notebook having aluminum surfaces and the capability of containing a 780M (or 8970M!).

    I really like the P150SM's chassis (flat, plain, but a touch of curves on the lid), except that I wish the lid and palm rest had aluminum instead of the rubberized plastic. So, I started checking around for skins or sheets with which to apply to those areas.

    Sadly, the best I turned up for application to a laptop was vinyl wraps used for automotive purposes that looked like brushed aluminum.

    However, I did turn up very thin black anodized aluminum sheets (18GA, in the eBay posting below):

    I figured that might be a good starting point, but I don't have machining tools with which to cut these sheets into the desired shapes.

    Has anyone done something like this before? Or have I missed an obvious market which offers what I seek? Or maybe I have to suck it up and buy Alienware for an aluminum-clad 780M beast? Thanks! :hi2:

    * - Specifically, I was looking at Samsung's ATIV Book 8 for her, if anyone was interested. Hoping for a Haswell refresh come June 20th!
     
  2. sangemaru

    sangemaru Notebook Deity

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    Alienware out of pure principle :D
     
  3. Zephyril

    Zephyril Notebook Enthusiast

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    Maybe....! I'm a little sad about the loss of the M15x, though. A smaller 1080p screen than the 17.3" would be nice... Is the 2013 M14x going to be capable of housing top-of-the-line GPUs?
     
  4. jotm

    jotm Notebook Evangelist

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    Aluminum vinyl film looks quite nice on laptops and tablets when applied correctly (and it's much easier to apply than sheets). Here's one on eBay
     
  5. Zephyril

    Zephyril Notebook Enthusiast

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    I'm a little confused about the feel of the vinyl, though. Do they also mimic the metallic feel, and the vinyl is simply the backing for ease of application, or will it it feel like vinyl after putting it on? :confused:

    Edit: Well, I haven't seen too many people's input on the "feel" of the wrap, but some results do look pretty sharp... Maybe I'll order a sample and see how it feels and applies in person.

    Looks like the main market for vinyl wraps is for a carbon-fiber look, although there's a nice selection of metallic wraps from 3M.
     
  6. Zephyril

    Zephyril Notebook Enthusiast

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    So. Wow. I am really impressed, actually. I used 3M 1080 Scotchprint Brushed Black Metallic Vinyl on my aging ASUS G73JH.

    Forgive the lighting quality; bad camera phone!
    2013-06-15_00-53-25_586.jpg

    2013-06-15_00-54-32_109.jpg

    2013-06-15_00-55-52_321.jpg

    And aside from looking (mostly) good, it feels pretty nice, too! It isn't the same as actually having an aluminum shell--it's not as cool to the touch, but it's not bad at all. I think it has a premium feel to it (although the soft-touch plastic is also considered premium by others).

    This is my first time using "vinyl wrap" on anything. It's fairly easy to use on wide surfaces; angles are a bit harder to manage, depending on how you trim the wrap. I, unfortunately, used the dinner table, and I didn't thoroughly clean my work space. You can see some imperfections from particles caught on the underside adhesive. However, it was very easy to "push" out air bubbles and flatten the wrap with a credit card.

    For $20 (5' by 1' piece) and a bit of disassembly time, I'm pretty pleased with the result. I'll definitely apply the same wrap to my next plastic-shelled laptop.

    Thanks for making me take a second look at vinyl wrap! :thumbsup:
     
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