I've been a PowerBook 5300 user since the summer of 2000. Despite
the 5300's "road Apple" reputation (see Low
End Mac [lowendmac.com] for a definition of what a road Apple
is), I fell in love with my 5300cs almost immediately upon turning
it on. Over the years, I've learned more about the 5300 than I
ever thought possible. I've written a FAQ
about the 5300 series. I've even overclocked my 5300cs to
117MHz. The only thing I hadn't done yet was paint it! Occasionally
a discussion of paints suitable for PowerBook mods comes up on
a mailing list to which I subscribe. Having painted my Performa
460, PowerMac 6100, Apple AudioVision 14, and 16" ColorSync
display, I was no novice. But I also had never tried Krylon Fusion
The discussion of painting PowerBooks clinched it. I had to try
out this paint, and what better to use it on than my much loved
(and fairly useless these days) 5300cs! The RedBook 5300 was born...
The first thing I did was completely tear down my 5300cs. And by
completely, I mean completely. I removed the motherboard, frame
stiffener, infrared board, the expansion bay ejection mechanism,
and even the PC Card doors and rubber band. I also removed the LCD
cover from the top of the 'book. I then masked off the serial number
and model name labels on the bottom of the case with 3M blue masking
tape and removed the two rubber feet. I also pried up the Apple
logo on the lid (the logo is a small piece of metal secured to the
plastic with a sticky glue-like substance) to make sure that I didn't
mar it with a bad masking job. Then, armed with a fresh can of the
only color of Krylon Fusion that the local Wal-Mart had in stock
(besides black and cream), I trotted off to the garage...
Besides the bottom case and lid plastics,
I also decided to paint the little strip of plastic that sits
under the display hinge and the two clutch covers. I set them
up on plastic cups so that they wouldn't stick to the news paper.
I applied three coats of paint to each part for a solid and opaque
paint job. You'll want to do the spray-painting outside, though.
The paint produces a very fine (nearly invisible) mist that remains
suspended in the air for a long time. It wasn't until the paint
had dried and I was cleaning up that I noticed the pink tone all
of the garage floor had taken on. Looking more closely, the walls
had a pink gradient, too - the top of the walls were uncolored
and gradually changed to pink near the floor! Passing through
the garage into my apartment, I noticed that the paint had even
gotten into the kitchen and coated the stovetop! Yeah, the apartment
managers aren't going to be happy about that...
Anyway, I applied the first coat and
waited an hour for the paint to dry a bit before I applied another.
I repeated this three times (or so) for each piece of plastic,
then let all of it dry for a few more hours before handling the
plastics. When I felt that the plastics were dry enough, I reassembled
the 5300cs. Unfortunately, I didn't wait quite long enough. The
clutch covers hadn't firmed up yet, and the paint scraped off
in some places when I tried to assemble the PowerBook. The clutch
covers were ruined (well, they need sanding and repainting at
least). Fortunately, I had another set lying around that I hadn't
painted. Additionally, I left a few fingerprint marks in the lid
where the paint was still tacky...
The 5300cs looks quite clean, actually. It does have a nice gloss to
it that turned out much more attractive than I thought it would.
Sanding isn't required before using Krylon Fusion paint, so the
underlying texture of the plastic still comes through (especially
if you don't apply too heavy a coat of paint). Of course, sanding
will eliminate that texture and produce a smoother finish, if that's
what you are going for.
All-in-all, I'm very happy with the results. It was simple (the hard part was
reassembling the PowerBook - make sure you keep track of all those screws!)
and fun, although the euphoria enjoyed while spray painting in an enclosed garage
was probably a bad thing... ;-) If you can handle the tear-down of any Mac,
this is an easy and enjoyable way of giving it a new, custom look. I definitely
recommend the Krylon Fusion line of paint, too. The stuff works exactly as advertised
and requires almost nothing in the way of prep (no sanding or priming is needed).
Now I just have to figure out what the heck I'm going to do with my