Video RANT: Taking the (Sharp) Edge off the MacBook Pro

Filing the Edge off a MacBook Pro
John P.

Filing the Edge off a MacBook ProGod only knows how many times I’ve whined on Twitter about the sharp edge on my MacBook Pro right where your wrists rest while working on it. I swear to Buddha that after 15 minutes of working on this thing I have lines deep enough imprinted in my forearms to make people think I’m trying to slash my wrists! Furthermore, this laptop nearly makes me want to!!!

But tonight I’d had enough. After a marathon session of pain, I finally got off my lazy butt and did something about it. So, here is a video of me taking a file to my MacBook Pro and doing what Apple should have done long, long ago!

I’ve received numerous emails and phone calls from people asking me what type of files and clamps I used when shaving the sharp edge off of my Macbook. In order for me to get back to work and stop fielding questions, I decided to put the MacBook Pro Mod Shopping List together on showing exactly what will work. You can duplicate the results for about $12 worth of tools. So get to it folks! ;-)

If you want to do it yourself its actually quite easy. Just get a couple of clamps and gently attach your MacBook to a strong, stable surface. Then take a fine file to the edge and slowly begin removing material. After 10-20 strokes you’ll feel a world of difference in the edge of the device. Just make sure you don’t get the aluminum shavings in your finger. You do not want aluminum splinters!

Have fun, and feel free to ask questions.

EDIT: For those with comments and questions about this process.
For all those who are worried about removing the anodized finish, don’t. I did this a month ago, and there is no “black stuff”or any other sort of residual. (AKA – My sleeves aren’t dirty.)

You should know that I’m also a trained welder, blacksmith and bladesmith. I’ve got hunks of aluminum in my garage that I machine on my milling machine, cut on my CNC plasma cutting machine, and weld on my big ass Lincoln TIG welder. In other words, I’m experienced at working with Aluminum.

This tiny amount of filed area is not going to get exposed to a harsh environment because your laptop can’t take it! Plus, the oil from your skin rubbing in this are will actually keep that small area further protected.

Note that I used a file and did this by hand. That is because the file removes metal as shavings – not dust. I would highly NOT recommend doing this with sandpaper or another abrasive. As you can see from the video the shavings are too big to become airborne and can be swept right up. Also, there is no chance of any of them getting inside the computer.

Finally, turn your machine off. I ONLY left mine on so people would not think this was a hoax. YES, I really did this to my MBP. And yes, I can afford it if I broke it. So guess what, I took the risk so you don’t have to wonder if it can be done. Not the first time I’ve done something like this, nor will it be the last.

So, you’ve got two choices if your bothered by the sharp edge on your MacBook.

  1. Listen to the guy who did it and had zero negative consequences.
  2. Listen to people who did NOT do it, but who have a desperate need to sound like a metallurgist or some sort of authority despite their lack of hands on experience.

The only thing I’ll advise is that when you are filing be careful about brushing the shavings off with bare hands or you might end up with aluminum splinters. They are no fun. ;-)


  1. erenes says

    you are right. Forgot I filed the edges at the bottom corners – my hands are clean.

    but the table is UBER dirty. I plan to CP the bottom case. I dont want to anodise it, will be easy to scratch. I think about CP + rainbow PVD. I prefer this kind of hard coating over ano. even over hard ano.

  2. erenes says

    LOL. really no gray mark on your sleeves and hands? I didnt filed my MBP and it’s makign my hands dirty sometimes. My bottom case is getting my table COMPLETLY gray with ano dust. terrible.

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