DIY A/V rack? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 12:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Just wondering if anyone has any plans for a DIY equipment rack. I am considering building one instead of spending $500-800 on one plus shipping!
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post #2 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 04:24 AM
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I am planning on making one 4 tall and 24" wide. Built into the wall in the hall outside the theater with a glass door front. The back will be blocked off and I will use some equipment rack fans to vent into the plumbing room behind the bathroom. I will frame it up with 3/4" ply and faced with stained oak trim. I have access to the rear so a DIY rack seemed a logical choice and much cheaper. Here is what mine will look like in drawing form. I only needed some minor drawings to go by so these are far from extensive.

Here is a quickie drawing of what mine will look like



The HD DVD player there is actually the Oppo I am buying. I think I will stick with Blu Ray since I am unsure of the future of HD DVD. I can replace the oppo with an HD DVD player in the future if I want.


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post #3 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:14 AM
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It's not fancy, but for my rack I purchased 2 sheets of birch plywood.

Built a very simple rack / bookshelf without a back and stained it.

I used some "spoon pins" so that I could adjust the shelves and it works quite well.
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post #4 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:39 AM
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Purchase RRT Rackrail and frame with 2x4's to correct opening. Finish with MDF for a low-cost alternative to a rack system. Only thing to consider as you expand is your rack accessories for items that are not rack-mountable.

http://www.middleatlantic.com/rackac/rail/rail.htm#2

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post #5 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Martin View Post

I am planning on making one 4 tall and 24" wide. Built into the wall in the hall outside the theater with a glass door front. The back will be blocked off and I will use some equipment rack fans to vent into the plumbing room behind the bathroom. I will frame it up with 3/4" ply and faced with stained oak trim. I have access to the rear so a DIY rack seemed a logical choice and much cheaper. Here is what mine will look like in drawing form. I only needed some minor drawings to go by so these are far from extensive.

Here is a quickie drawing of what mine will look like



The HD DVD player there is actually the Oppo I am buying. I think I will stick with Blu Ray since I am unsure of the future of HD DVD. I can replace the oppo with an HD DVD player in the future if I want.


John

I basically did the same thing as John but the total outside width is 21.5", the shelf width is 20". I used the Rockler jig for drilling the holes for adjustable shelves and I highly recommend the jig if you are planning on going that route. Here is the link for it: http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?page=5876

Here is my rack as it is now.


If you need any early construction shots I will see If I can dig some up and post them for you.

Cheers,
JJ

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post #6 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:54 AM
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Hi JJ,
Do you have a picture of the back side of your rack in your rack room? I would like to see what you have placed the rack on? Some 2x4's or what? Let me know. Thanks a bunch. I am also going to building my rack this weekend and I am building one similar to yours.
Can you also elaborate on your door on your rack. How does it slide to the side?

Thanks.
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post #7 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:56 AM
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Where can I get glass cut to a custom size for the a/v rack door? Can i get it done at HD/lowes? Or should i go to rockler/woodcraft? Thanks.
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post #8 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 06:18 AM
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See my signature for my DIY rack.

My DIY Rack
I took the RED pill.    ...and still haven't swallowed the BLUE pill.

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post #9 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 06:23 AM
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I bought rack rail, mounted it in the 2x4s of the shelf system, then bought the metal rack shelves to get that rack look. It cost less than a rack, but was still expensive with the shelves ($400+). I like it a lot.
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post #10 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 06:48 AM
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I built a simple DIY rack similar to those in the plans above, using pilasters rather than holes and pins to get more of a "rack look". There's a door to the rear which opens into the utility room for cable access, plus convection vents at top and bottom that could be converted to fan ventilation if heat problems arise.

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...0#post12750880

On the page after, there are some photos of the rack rear, which is supported by heavy-duty brackets.

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post #11 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 08:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by indianrider View Post

Hi JJ,
Do you have a picture of the back side of your rack in your rack room? I would like to see what you have placed the rack on? Some 2x4's or what? Let me know. Thanks a bunch. I am also going to building my rack this weekend and I am building one similar to yours.
Can you also elaborate on your door on your rack. How does it slide to the side?

Thanks.

Yes, I will try and get a picture posted on here tonight of the back of the rack. I use 2X4s in the back to support the rack.

I used the accuride door slide to move the door out of the way when using the rack. The door slide can also be purchased at Rockler. http://www.rockler.com/product.cfm?p...de%201%202%203

I believe that my total wall opening is a couple inches wider than the rack itself. This will allow the door to slide to the outside of the rack. I placed my wall studs apart 24" to be able to fit the door opening and the rack into the area. I will try and draw up a plan along with my pictures and outline it as best as possible for you.

Quote:
Originally Posted by indianrider View Post

Where can I get glass cut to a custom size for the a/v rack door? Can i get it done at HD/lowes? Or should i go to rockler/woodcraft? Thanks.

I checked with auto glass installers in the area. The majority of them sell panes of glass. I had a carpenter build my frame for the door and he gave me the size I needed to order. If you order glass from someone like this make sure that you get it tempered for safety purposes. Once I got the glass back from the company, I went ahead and tinted the glass myself. You could always pay a little extra and they will tint the glass for you if that is how you want it.

Like I said, I will try and get you more details tonight. Let me know if you have any other questions in the mean time.

Cheers,
JJ

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post #12 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 11:30 AM
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I opted to DIY it by using double-tab adjustable shelving rails with plywood shelves painted black. Used some split loom tubing from the auto parts store to corral the cabling . Total for parts somewhere around ~$60.00




For the front, so I didn't have to look at the shelves and gaps, I'm making some RSH style faceplates to finish off the front of the rack - about $30 worth of 1/16th aluminum:



I'm almost done; working on fitting the last few panels this week.



It's by no means a MA rack, but it adjusts and holds things nicely, and I never look at the back all that much . The nice thing about the faceplates is it drastically reduces the amount of dusting and swiffering

Hope it gives you some options/ideas!

Cheers,
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post #13 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 12:03 PM
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Tom,
Nice job on your A/V rack!!! That setup works out really well for heat disapation!


Cheers,
JJ

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post #14 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 12:20 PM
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Tom, that's a fantastic-looking DIY job! A couple of quick questions if you don't mind - how are you getting the plates machined, and how are they attached to your rack assembly?

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post #15 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 01:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snowkarver View Post

how are you getting the plates machined, and how are they attached to your rack assembly?

Actually, they are 'hand-machined' . First, I cut the blank from the big sheet to 19" by whatever the component is, and trim it to fit. Then, a few measurements:



I measure the component dimensions as well as the distance from the upper finished panel. Couple of holes, some jigsaw work (Stay inside the lines!), and then use a flat file to bring the edge right up against the line I traced. Finish sand with some 220 grit to chamfer the edges and not mark up the equipment.

Test fit, and make any minor adjustments



The holes for the mounting are marked and drilled with a template I made from some scrap aluminum. Steel wool it to remove any tool marks as well, and notch out for the IR repeater wire....

[

A little paint, and then mounting. When I built the rack, I left about 3/4 of an inch of reveal from the molding edge. This was to leave me room to drive the screws in. The screws themselves are standard phillips head drywall screws, with a nickel #8 finishing washer painted satin black as well.



Actually, I'm just puttering on the next panel as I type this (taking a break )....

I figure whenever I swap out for a new component, I can just trace out the plate size from the existing, and cut out a new panel to match it back in later. Seems to be working out well so far - just requires some patience, as I tend to cut just a little smaller, then file it up to size. The gaps are only a couple thousandths if you take your time. I also picked up some steel mesh, and am planning on making a vented panel or two for the lower portion of the rack for intake airflow. That'll be later this week I imagine.

Okay, back to painting
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post #16 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 01:16 PM
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Thanks, JJ for the info on the rack and the glass.

Also,Tom, nice looking diy rack. That Aluminum front plate stuff is very cool. I might try that out.
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post #17 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 04:06 PM
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Tom,

The plates, they're friggin beautiful and genius! What tool did you use to cut the inside and it's so straight?

Amazing!
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post #18 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 04:31 PM
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indianrider,
Tom's A/V rack is a great design covering all the basics, such as heat dissipation, cost, and overall looks!

Tom,
I was actually trying to think of a way to finish off the front of the rack so it looks nice while the door is open. I was going to attempt to build front panels like yours with MDF, but I think it will be a lot easier using the aluminum and will look better. The great thing about your DIY rack is it looks like you spent the big bucks on it.

I used to do sheet metal work in the Navy and know what you mean by having patience with cutting and the finish work.

Cheers,
JJ

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post #19 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1rtu0s1ty View Post

What tool did you use to cut the inside and it's so straight?

Hey v1rtu0s1ty

The WAF got me one of these for Christmas



I just used a very fine point Sharpie pen to trace out, then used that bad boy with a decent metal blade (and avoided too many cups of coffee ) to cut just inside of the line. The rest was minor flat filing, and some finish sanding. Make sure to remove any burrs, or it may mark up your equipment! I just finished the Panny DVD a few minutes ago, and I'm waiting for the BFD trim to dry - they don't take very long - about an hour each, depending how picky you are . As for the finish, I opted for a spray can of "Mar-Hyde Satin Black" - it's made by Bondo (like my truck), and has a beautiful satin finish. The best part is, is that you can re-spray only portions of a surface, and it will blend righ in without any traces. It's used for things like windshield wiper arms, trim and such. It doesn't require primer, and is very durable. Keep it well ventialted, though, since it has nasties like Tolulene, Ketones and God knows what else.......

You have to be quite careful with the aluminum though; it will bend easy or distort if you go heavy on it. Might even be worthwhile to go with a heavier gauge that 1/16ths to give it more sturdiness. For the areas between the components where the aluminum is ~ 1/2 in wide or less, I applied some 'industrial' double-side tape just to ensure that the two junctions stay together if someone presses against them. As well, when driving the screws and washers, make sure that the plate remains flat against the surface as so the screw doesn't start to grab it and walk it out of line - I had to oversize the holes a little to accommodate that. The other bonus is, if you mess up and the component sits too low for your cutout, you can add some rubber feet or some type of shim to bring it up to proper height - I don't think anyone will ever notice, even from the back.

If you want, I can snap some 'process' shots a little later when I start to do up the VCR (I know, I know.....) and the vent panels...

Oh and PS - Easier to work from the top of the rack down

Cheers,
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post #20 of 246 Old 02-07-2008, 05:40 PM
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it's made by Bondo (like my truck)

I hate to hi-jack your thread OP but that made me seriously LOL.
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post #21 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 12:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YW84U View Post

Hey v1rtu0s1ty

The WAF got me one of these for Christmas



I just used a very fine point Sharpie pen to trace out, then used that bad boy with a decent metal blade (and avoided too many cups of coffee ) to cut just inside of the line.

Cheers,

Do you remember the teeth number? And where did you buy that plate?
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post #22 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 12:10 AM - Thread Starter
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I am glad I started this thread...these are some great examples of what I can do given the time and patience!
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post #23 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 08:30 AM
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Thanks for the detailed plans Tom. I'm totally going to plan ahead for this as it seems like something that can be done over time after the HT is operational. Where does one find sheet aluminum like that?

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post #24 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 08:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by v1rtu0s1ty View Post

Do you remember the teeth number? And where did you buy that plate?

Hi All,

I don't recall the number of teeth; I just went with a Canadian Tire cheapo blade marked for 'metal' (looks about the same as a fine hacksaw type of blade). With aluminum, you can get away with using most 'woodworking tools' according to the guy at the metal shop, seeing as it is soft to work with.

I picked up the sheet from a place called Metal Supermarkets - basically, just a business that sells all types of metal to other shops. A quick look at their 'store finder' shows that they apparently have outlets all over Canada and the US (I had no idea!). Depending where you live, if there isn't one nearby, there should be something else around in your industrial areas that either sells metal, or does machining. A machine or welding shop would likely have some as scrap, and you might even be able to pick it up even cheaper (they might have some odd-size leftovers in a bin they want to get rid of). I built a pushbar for my truck some years ago, and picked up 3" stainless pipe from a shop that does machine work for dairy farm equipment (Who'd have thought dairy? ).....a few phone calls and you should be able to source something out, and price compare to find a deal.

Cheers,
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post #25 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 09:57 AM
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Definately make your own and save some money. I have built two DIY ones. 2x4 frame w/ plywood for the sides, top and bottom. Then drill holes for shelf pegs. I just don't see the point in getting a real rack unless you have a good deal of rack mounted equipment (mounted by the front ears). Only a real high end set up is going to have that type components. Most people are just going to have standard consumer grade stuff, then mounting rails are just pointless other than mounting faceplates for a clean look.

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post #26 of 246 Old 02-08-2008, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YW84U View Post

I opted to DIY it by using double-tab adjustable shelving rails with plywood shelves painted black. Used some split loom tubing from the auto parts store to corral the cabling . Total for parts somewhere around ~$60.00




I did EXACTLY the same thing, except I used MDF for shelves which were easier to paint a flat, even black. I opted for door-style surround trim, so it looks more like a window or door opening.

The rack is currently full, so there's no unsightly gaps, but here's what it looked like just after install.



-Josh Murrah
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post #27 of 246 Old 02-09-2008, 08:22 AM
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Tom, ShagMan,

I was trying to think of a good DIY rack and what you two have done looks incredible! I really like the looks of your racks.

One question though how wide and deep did you make your shelving? I was thinking 21/22 wide by 24 deep am I off base with that? I was thinking those dimensions would accommodate 99% of anything I would be needing to put on my rack.

Regards,

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post #28 of 246 Old 02-09-2008, 02:55 PM
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Has anyone ever used raxess equipment, you can just buy the rails then do a little carpentry work around the front rather than making shelves.

http://www.zzounds.com/item--RAXRKRL

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post #29 of 246 Old 02-09-2008, 03:59 PM
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My turn!.
made by purchasing square tubing and welding a cage.. inserted rack rails.
the fronts are blank pannels custom cut myself with a dremel. you cant tell its diy.



painted flat black (rust proof)
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack2.jpg

picked up some 5U shelves on fleabay. the cisco switch is just there to help align the rails
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack3.jpg

dissasembled my old rack which was a closet with shelves to make room for an office behind this wall.
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack4.jpg

behind the wall where server rack stands.. its very clean now. all ziptied and covered nicely. this side of the basement is completely open.. no more overheating issues
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack5.jpg

finished molding around the rack
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack6.jpg

installed a few pannels for now
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack7.jpg

cut some pannels out to fit the equipment
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack8.jpg

this one is a camera phone pic. (poor quality) but it shows the 5U htpc case installed
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack9.jpg


Oh.. and i cant take any credit for this.. i followed a pdf file with instructions on how to make this.. included with cad drawings and all. .its really not hard to do. when i get home ill find the pdf and attach it

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post #30 of 246 Old 02-09-2008, 08:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by latntekky View Post

My turn!.
made by purchasing square tubing and welding a cage.. inserted rack rails.
the fronts are blank pannels custom cut myself with a dremel. you cant tell its diy.



painted flat black (rust proof)
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack2.jpg

picked up some 5U shelves on fleabay. the cisco switch is just there to help align the rails
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack3.jpg

dissasembled my old rack which was a closet with shelves to make room for an office behind this wall.
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack4.jpg

behind the wall where server rack stands.. its very clean now. all ziptied and covered nicely. this side of the basement is completely open.. no more overheating issues
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack5.jpg

finished molding around the rack
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack6.jpg

installed a few pannels for now
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack7.jpg

cut some pannels out to fit the equipment
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack8.jpg

this one is a camera phone pic. (poor quality) but it shows the 5U htpc case installed
http://themeltedcrayon.com/serverrack9.jpg


Oh.. and i cant take any credit for this.. i followed a pdf file with instructions on how to make this.. included with cad drawings and all. .its really not hard to do. when i get home ill find the pdf and attach it


Nicely done, you did a great job welding that up. I'm thinking this wasn't your first welding project!

Number of trips to the Hardware Store: Can't count that high!

Sunbeam Cinema Build Thread
jjmj427 is offline  
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