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The edges of both the MacBook Pro (aluminum case) and the MacBook (polycarbonate) are exceedingly sharp. Depending on my typing position, they dig in my wrists, an unpleasant and painful experience. Can you suggest a solution?

Sanding is one option. Did you perhaps sand-off the edges by using fine-sanding paper made for wood? Could you post an image of the result? It's understood it will not be as pretty afterwards, but being plain ugly is not an option either.

Guards are another idea. People sometime use guards on furniture with sharp features to save their kids when bumping into them. Can you think of a similar product (off-the-shelf or homemade) for the edges of a MacBook?

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Added clarification. –  Calaf Nov 2 '11 at 18:03
I'm really worried about what sort of a typing position you're finding yourself using, if it brings your wrists into contact with the laptop edges. Nerve damage takes a lot longer to heal than skin... –  Shog9 Nov 2 '11 at 18:08
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4 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Here's a youtube tutorial by a very brave person on how to file the edge off a MacBook Pro: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NnGAlf1hjs4

More information is available here: http://onemansblog.com/2010/03/11/video-rant-taking-the-sharp-edge-off-the-macbook-pro/

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Chamfering seems to be the right idea. A swiss-army knife solved the problem on the polycarbonate. As the video suggests, the metal is trickier. Either way some rounding, even with just a nearly imperceptible 0.5mm radius, would have been nice, especially if made by the manufacturer. –  Calaf Nov 4 '11 at 1:39
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A dremel type grinder would work for both. You'd want to mask off the case so you know when you're chewing too far into the top case. A guide or jig to hold the grinding wheel stationary would be better since you'd be less likely to go too far into the battery for example on the Polycarbonite model.

If you are dead set against changing your ergonomics so your wrists never know whether the edge is sharp or beveled, I would get help from someone in a machine shop that has experience with grinding. They will have practiced on many other items and likely have far better technique. The tools to both cut and polish polycarbonate and aluminum are different, but knowing how to clamp down the mac and use a metal file properly would come in handy - especially if the shop has the tools and clamps needed and you only have to supply the patient and perhaps the finishing abrasive and social lubricant to get the job done.

If you are going to go the DIY route, emery board might be better and less risky and you can control the amount of material that is removed over time. Start with that, even on the aluminum and work up to a metal file if needed.

You'll want a fine emery board to polish things either way, but do try to get a scrap case to test on before you start (or at least get a quote to replace the part should you like the modified case worse than the new edge.)

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All good ideas, but I'm really looking for someone who has already gambled with his own precious hardware. –  Calaf Nov 2 '11 at 19:03
I can say from personal experience to not use a blade on the polycarbonate mac. It's possible to have success but very easy to cut too deeply. Emery boards work well if you just want to blunt the edge. We didn't try to polish that mac and just let time and general use polish it. Lots of people have used a dremel on the Aluminum macs and documented it online. You can see most are not uniform hence my warning to get a pro to help there. It really depends on how picky you are (and how skilled your hands). Some people go into fits if their mac has a scratch - others don't care about cosmetics. –  bmike Nov 2 '11 at 19:29
Someone who cuts too deeply needs to flip the blade so that the sharp side is trailing. This way a thin layer is shaved at each swipe. –  Calaf Nov 5 '11 at 4:03
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Here are some alternatives that you could consider:

  1. Silicone case that wraps around to the keyboard - see this macrumors thread. Note: it's a bit dated (2007), so not sure if they still sell these types of ccases/covers anymore.
  2. Guard strip - example from Amazon here. Product description indicates that the main purpose is to address the issue of sharp edges for the MBP. Something like that probably fits the bill perfectly.
  3. Wrist rest (foam/leather) - example from Amazon here. The rest may be able to put enough distance between your wrists and the edge.

Caveat: I don't have any problem with the edge, so I've never used any of these products. But one of these might address your comfort without necessitating the filing down of your MBP's edge, which would probably hurt its resale value.

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The guard strip looks perfect if the laptop were to stay as a desktop machine, but then many people likely hook up a full-size monitor and the magic this and that. It's not clear whether the guard strip would survive putting the macbook frequently in a bag. –  Calaf Nov 4 '11 at 1:44
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I used a small file to carefully round the sharp edge that was digging into my palms. It worked really well but left some scratch marks from the file.

I finished cleaning it up with some light sandpaper.

If you do this, be very careful to ensure no aluminum dust gets inside the keys, speakers, or case. That would not be good.

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