This may raise some eyebrows but your situation isn't all that unique. I build a lot of boxes with aluminum cases and usually disassemble optical drives, mask the clear power lens and paint the front of the drive bay. (they break down into two parts and are actually pretty easy) And, what do I use - aluminumized automotive wheel paint in spray cans - an almost perfect match.
Your challenge is a little different because caution would err on the side of "not disassembling" the shell, but painting the top of it while the machine is still intact. OK, I've been there before too. You can prepare the shell without masking anything and traditional auto body or 2-part plastic bumper products can be used to fill any deep gouges. (if you have a cracked shell - you'll need to replace it or completely disassemble it to repair it, so we won't get into that here) Wet or dry sandpaper is going to be necessary to finish the shell prior to painting and you'll need to be very careful to keep dust down and avoid doing anything that might damage any components, both electrical and things like optical lenses, floppy bays, exhaust ports etc. You can mask the lower shell prior to this step if you want to and eventually you'll need to mask the entire lower shell anyway. Once masked, its primer time and painting time. Your best choice is going to be quality automotive paint and if you take your notebook to an auto body supply house, they'll be able to match paint for you and may even be able to hook you up with a painter if you're not up to the task.
Before you do this, make darn sure that you have masked everything very carefully because the fine mist of paint and the overspray can and will penetrate any cracks or spaces - if you're not carefull and you can ruin your computer. One more caution - because your laptop has a dull finish by design - your paint is going to require similar characteristics or you'll wind up with something that "looks like you painted it yourself". If you go the spray can route, you'll need a clear satin finish coat or two to achieve a "can't tell the difference" match between your top and bottom shell. And, don't use any cheap paints because they will scratch like [bleep] and you'll eventually wind up with something much worse than you have now in terms of aesthetics.
Good Luck & go slow. Mask, mask and mask some more - you don't want any overspray permeating anything on your machine.
Edited by Rockster2U, 18 May 2005 - 06:51 AM.