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I finally fixed up LeeEv, but not the “right” way.  As in, I didn’t order any Alienware parts like I had been planning from Dell or from a third party vendor.  Instead, I got a 5$ tube of epoxy putty from my local hardware store and remade the hinge mounts with that.  I used maybe an eighth of a tube of J-B Weld Co. KwikPlastic Adhesive Putty Stick.  It was quite easy to do and cleaner than if I had used an epoxy resin.  It does stick readily to everything, so be careful around your desk, clothes, fingers.  It pays to cut your nails before handing that stuff or you’ll be digging out from under your nails.  The knife I used to cut portions of the putty off still has stuff stuck to it.  But once it cures, it’s quite strong.  I can open and close my lid now with no problems.  No crackling, no creaking, no weird pieces of plastic falling out.

Like a lot of other people who have used this fix on their hinges, I’ve opted for the “industrial look” and I won’t be putting the front bezel back on.  It looked kind of cheap with it on and I rather like the aesthetic of the screws and mounts exposed.  The light bar around the side of the LCD panel looks nicer like this too.

You’ll note, however, that one nut on both the left and right sides slipped while the epoxy was curing.  The putty didn’t shrink appreciably while it was curing, so I must have put them in misaligned and didn’t notice.  Sugh.  In the interest of not stripping the head of the screws, I didn’t force them in.  I did end up stripping one screw before I noticed how badly misaligned the corresponding nut was.  I have more than enough screws anyway, since there are an extra two that keep the bezel in place and I’m not using those anyway.

Incidentally, Dell has fully refunded my account and apologized profusely for always getting my order wrong.  I doubt anything will be done about the underlying cause though.

And did you come by looking for a post yesterday?  There wasn’t one.  You might have noticed that.  It’s because the Lettermo challenge is over and we’re back to the MWF posts now.

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