Laptop fell from 1.7 m -> bent corner

Hi everyone,

long story short, my beloved Framework 13 fell on a tile floor from about 1.7 meters, being only partly inserted into a neoprene laptop sleeve, with one of the sides uncovered. The left bottom corner got a hit, and is now bent up, towards the screen. The screen is fine and everything works, just the corner is bent (uff).


What do you think would be the smartest way to bend the corners back into the original shape?

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Hi and welcome to the forum

Well I imagine you’ll just have to remove the input panel and then try and bend the bottom chassis, not much help really :frowning:

The only hope is that if it bends easily on a fall then maybe not too much pressure will be needed.

You may want to remove the left speaker so you can get a bit more elbow in there.

If you can just bend that may be less stress, if you use a hammer and wooden dowel it would be best to remove the battery at least.

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Thanks for providing guidance @amoun!

You’ll want to remove the top half at the hinges to make sure that it isn’t damaged while trying to get things back in shape.

Absolutely worst cast scenario, please reach out to Framework Support if you can’t get things where they need to be. We may have a used Bottom Cover and Input Cover that couldn’t be used in a refurb build that we can offer at a discount (we’d have to check with our repair center partner). Can’t hurt to ask in these unfortunately situations. Accidents happen, but the good news is that a Framework Laptop is repairable and we have parts available.

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Not sure about “smartest” but your approach should be optimised for available tools and materials. Here’s how I’d approach it using stuff I have in the house and the shed.

Fashion a small hardwood block to follow the inside radius of the undamaged corner and to protrude 10-15 mm above the lip of the “bowl” that is the lower case. When the block is flipped over it should match the curve of the damaged corner.

Place the case on something inflexible (like a marble pastry board) and slowly press the wooden block into the bent corner by alternately tensioning a pair of ratchet clamps.

It’s possible that the bent aluminium will resist the clamp compression. If that were to occur, I’d use a pair of G-clamps to press the wooden block into the aluminium, alternately torquing each one down in quarter-turn increments using a suitable lever.

Dino

Addendum
I’ve been thinking about this a lot (Lukas’ photo is not something one can unsee) since I posted the above. It occurs to me that some preparatory steps will be essential:

  • an additional block of wood and one or two additional clamps should be used to secure the undamaged portion of the case to the pastry board (or other rigid surface).
  • it will also be necessary to use some packing material–like 3mm Masonite–on the underside of the case so that the clamping force is not transferred to the rubber “feet”. The smooth surface of the Masonite should face the aluminium.
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Impressive damage. Does the speaker still work?
Would be nice to see pictures of the inside whenever you take it apart.

Send it to Japan:

Don’t use clamps. Clamps implies that you’re trying to leverage the rest of the body, transferring force from one area to another. You want to localize the forces to a small, very small area when you’re bending the aluminum. Forces applied to metal over any length of distance typically gives unpredictable outcome because of non-uniformity of the material over that distance.

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On the flip side, if you hammer without any clamps you’ll probably end up just flinging the whole plate into your own face…

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You need a backing support piece.

Look at that first video, and this one to see what I mean (poor communication skill on my part):

The ‘dimples’ are intentional…but it can be really smooth.

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Thank you everyone for the replies!

For sure I will remove all the components when attempting to bend it back.

The speaker still works, and funnily enough, it seems to sound even a bit better with the extra hole :smile:

Thanks for the detailed plan of action @truffaldino! I will be able to watch the videos a bit later today @Second_Coming, but I suppose that the idea is: If it is possible to remove all plastic parts, then heat up the aluminum (actually that’s the tip I got yesterday in the local maker/hackerspace), and then hammer it back to shape.

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Make sure to come back and show us the final result, Lukas. I am super interested to see how this all turns out.

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Just try not to do this:

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Yeah please keep us posted Lukas_Helebrandt.

Second_Coming pointed me here as we seem to be twinsies.

Mine didn’t call as far though, and was in a bag.

image

Honestly I would bring it into a professional repair shop and ask them if they know how to fix it and how much it will cost.

They have much better tools to do this.

This could fix it (lol):

Be careful heating the aluminum. It’s not like steel. Steel will get dull red, then cherry red and then yellow/white while still having some strength, allowing it to maintain shape, while bending/shaping more easily.

Aluminum will heat to the point of literally flowing before it gets hot enough to noticeably change color, so you have to be careful not to heat it up too much. Also if the case is made out of some kind of hardened aluminum and you heat it up enough to get soft, it can “anneal” and become slightly softer permanently, even after it cools, unless you were to properly heat-treat it afterward. Probably not a big deal, just something to be aware of.

Aluminum “work hardens” very quickly when it bends, causing it to crack when bending back. That would be the main reason I would heat aluminum before bending. Just to avoid this cracking. But looking at your picture, I don’t think it bent far enough for this to be an issue. And aluminum is soft enough that it should “hammer” back into shape pretty easily without heating like you might do with steel.

Just my thoughts $0.02

Good luck however you decide to tackle this.

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