Update2: Pictures over here: viewtopic.php?f=21&t=91107&p=596498#p596498
Update1: To all those interested in this, I have to warn you, the project was basically a failure. The Plasti-dip spray is not durable enough. It peels off at the corners, even with primer. I would not recommend anyone wasting their time on it (unless they think I made a mistake somewhere).
A short work log of a project to spray the Thinkpad signature rubberized matte black finish to a Titanium cover Z61t. I used black Plasti-dip spray.
As a long time Thinkpad devote I've always loved the rubberized finish of T-series lids. Its durable, it feels solid, and it has a simple beauty. I've scoured the internet for ways to acquire this finish but never followed through.
When I bought a used z61t as my main machine 3 years ago I lost the beautiful finish. The titanium cover z61t are well known for losing their clear coat and becoming finger magnets. When I bought the machine the coat was half off and it looked terrible. I decided to completely remove it (all it takes is some alcohol and some elbow grease). I intended to reapply a clear coat, but after 3 years of daily use, I never got around to it. This last week finally gave me the motivation to get around to it: The z61t fell off the desk and the screen cracked
Since I had to disassemble the lid to replace the LCD, I decided it would be a good time to spray that lid.
Initially the plan was to spray a matte clear coat, but when I was at home depot browsing the paint selection, I saw the plasti-dip and remembered coming across it online. I decided to give it a try!
Disassemble the lid. You can get the removal instructions for your model from Lenovo's webpage. I just went off of memory of servicing so many machines. The latch didn't come off easily so I just left it on. There is also a silver reflective sheet stuck to the lid (helps reflect the light of the LCD I assume) that I didn't bother to remove.
Clean the lid! Here's a picture of what it looked like before cleaning:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1268.jpg
It looks terrible. The oil in our hands makes the metal finish uneven. Easiest way to clean it is with just some alcohol and a paper towel. Cleans pretty fast. Here's the results:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1270.jpg
Looks a lot better, but the lid still has 3 years worth of scratches and scuffs. With a clear coat they would likely show through, so the black rubberized finish will be great.
Mask off the parts you don't want painted. The lid has a window for the indicator lights. While I could remove the sticker, I'd still have to mask off the area, so I leave it on and avoid bending or warping the sticker. I also mask off the latch mechanism since I didn't remove it. I want to cover all screw tabs so it will still fit back together with the bezel. I also want to protect the underside of the lid because of the reflective sticker. If you have removed the latch and don't have a sticker, you don't have to worry so much about overspray.
I decided not to mask off the logo. I wasn't a fan of the shiny metal sticker and I thought it would look tacky contrasted against the flat black, so instead I decided to just paint over it. Because its beveled and not flat, the logo will still be visible. In the past I've tried to remove it, but it looks like they glued it down with epoxy. My attempts to remove it only made the sticker look worse.
Topside:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1272.jpg
Underside:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1271.jpg
Painting! There are lots of tutorials for how to get a good paint finish, so I won't go into too much detail, but a few tips. I used to make model planes, so I've accumulated some painting knowledge. Before I sprayed the lid, I sprayed a scrap piece of metal to see what the finish was like. Its a good practice if you aren't confident in your painting ability
1. I gave a quick cleaning to remove any fingerprints and oil from when I masked off the areas.
2. If your lid is already painted, and especially if it has a glossy finish, you'll want to sand down the area, but this lid is bare metal so sanding isnt necessary.
3. Do many light coats. The can recommends at least 3, I did 6. If you do heavy coats you can get drip and uneven surfaces. The first 2 coats will look bad and won't completely cover the surface, but by #6 that won't be a problem.
4. Spray from side to side starting several inches away from the part. If you start on the part you are likely to get splatter.
5. Wait for it to dry. Really. Don't touch it. If it says wait 4 hours, wait at least 6. The longer you let it sit, the harder it will get. If you touch it while its still soft you can irrepairably ruin the finish.
6. Plasti-dip is very very forgiving to mistakes.
Here's a picture after coat #6:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1273.jpg
Remove the masking tape. Because this is a spray rubber, you have to be very careful. The rubber can peel right off the surface (which is nice if you do make a mistake). Use an exacto knife along the edge of any masked surface.
Here's a picture with the mask removed:http://i279.photobucket.com/albums/kk15 ... G_1274.jpg
I think it looks excellent!
Wait, so where's a picture of it all put together? Well, I haven't received a working replacement LCD yet, so its on hold till I get one. The first I ordered arrived with a broken backlight. Arg.
I really like the plasti-dip finish. Its not 100% the same as a thinkpad finish, but very close. I liked it so much I've decided to spray the palmrest and bezels with it (similar to the finish on the newer lines of thinkpads). Long term durability is still a question. I applied 3 coats to my scrap piece and after 4-6 hours scratched at it with my nail. Where the paint was thick it didn't make a mark. The paint has definitely gotten harder the longer its cured. My mail worry now is peeling.
Let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or whatever!