DIY LAN/Audio Rack - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 05-01-2011, 05:42 PM - Thread Starter
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This is my rack project for my utility room at the new home. Unit will consist of a 12U upper section for the main components, and a smaller section below will be used for misc storage.

The image below shows a lot of placeholders and components that will be purchased in the future. The main components to be placed in the rack will be as follows:

1U - UPS
1U - 24 Port Gig Switch
2U - Rack shelf - Modem and Router to sit on shelf
4U - HTPC

This will leave 4U spare for future use. This space has been planned out for the following:

2U - 6 Zone Dayton Amplifier
2U - 4 - Sonos amplifiers for centralized whole house distribution units are less than 2U, but taller than 1U.

Rack will sit on lockable casters for easy movement, but will sit in a corner of my utility closet below a 24 Port Patch Panel.

Construction materials are:

1 - 4x8x3/4" BB Plywood
4 - 2" locking swivel casters
1/4-20 Tee Nuts as needed to secure rack rail
1 - 12U Rack rail pair



Project still in planning phase, construction to begin fairly soon.
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post #2 of 11 Old 05-02-2011, 06:20 AM
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Sounds like you have it planned out, but if you can I would look to sit the rack with one side against the wall instead of the back. It will allow you to get to the front and back with minimal or no movement (of course you need the width.)
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post #3 of 11 Old 05-02-2011, 09:56 AM
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If you look at a professional rack, there are air spaces on the sides, it's for ventilation and recommended. I would also leave some space on top. Think a "cage" construction and airflow around it.

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post #4 of 11 Old 05-03-2011, 05:47 AM
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Check ebay and craigslist, and university surplus departments, for used audio and server racks. You're trying to re-invent the wheel.

It won't be sturdy, without the components inside. And not too sure how much you want to rely on the mounted components for stability.

Pre-built will be sturdier - I don't think the butt joints will prevent it from collapsing sideways. Front and rear rack rails. Much, much easier pre-built. If you can only find 42U racks, buy a hack saw. The rear rack rails make cable management easier. As 39centstamp has previously suggested, a third set of vertical rack rails make cable management even easier - I added a third set to my used server rack.

You might also consider a patch panel for the ethernet cables, but many people skip that. You might want to consider mounting the switch backwards or mounted to the rear rails, so you won't see the cables (if looks are important to you).

Get/make one bigger than you'll need, you'll find other components/devices.

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post #5 of 11 Old 05-03-2011, 05:52 AM
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University surplus is also a great place for rack shelves, screws, and other rack equipment. Bring tools.

If you haven't seen it, check out the Show me your RACK thread. Lots of good ideas and pics there.

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post #6 of 11 Old 05-03-2011, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by video321 View Post

Sounds like you have it planned out, but if you can I would look to sit the rack with one side against the wall instead of the back. It will allow you to get to the front and back with minimal or no movement (of course you need the width.)

I'll look into rolling the rack in sideways, it won't make a huge difference once it's setup, it will be on casters and I plan on leaving enough well routed slack to pivot the cabinet for access.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrBobb View Post

If you look at a professional rack, there are air spaces on the sides, it's for ventilation and recommended. I would also leave some space on top. Think a "cage" construction and airflow around it.

True, on an open post rack, I think with the amount of space not utilized by the majority of these components (They are not 17.75" wide nor are they the depth of the cabinet) there should be decent air flow. Additionally, if Middle Atlantic sees it as sufficient, I think i'll be all set:



Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

Check ebay and craigslist, and university surplus departments, for used audio and server racks. You're trying to re-invent the wheel.

It won't be sturdy, without the components inside. And not too sure how much you want to rely on the mounted components for stability.

Pre-built will be sturdier - I don't think the butt joints will prevent it from collapsing sideways. Front and rear rack rails. Much, much easier pre-built. If you can only find 42U racks, buy a hack saw. The rear rack rails make cable management easier. As 39centstamp has previously suggested, a third set of vertical rack rails make cable management even easier - I added a third set to my used server rack.

You might also consider a patch panel for the ethernet cables, but many people skip that. You might want to consider mounting the switch backwards or mounted to the rear rails, so you won't see the cables (if looks are important to you).

Get/make one bigger than you'll need, you'll find other components/devices.

I'm not so much re-inventing the wheel as I'm using a set standard as I am remanufacturering the wheel at lower cost. I'd absolutely pick up a used rack if it were under, equal, or close to the cost of what this will run me.

Rather than a third set of rack rail, I will most likely utilize some flat aluminum to create lacing bars that again, cost a fraction of a marked up piece of bent and punched aluminum.

As for the patch panel, there will be one, but rather than rack mounting in this cabinet, it will be wall mounted at the ends of each cable run. This will allow for patch cables from the panel to the switch, that will facilitate easy disconnect if the rack needs to move farther than the patch cables allow. It will ensure the runs through the home do not terminate to an adjustable point in my basement, but rather a fixed point.

Still have not purchased lumber for this, but I plan to soon. If a 42U Rack shows up on Craigslist (not paying shipping) and is the right price, perhaps I'll pass on building, but so far I'm not interested in $400 prices that continue to surface in my area.
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post #7 of 11 Old 05-04-2011, 02:16 PM
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I looked for a local ebay rack, and checked craigslist, for about a year. Nothing great and cheap.

I then found out about university surplus - quite a selection of server racks, gathering dust, heading to the recycling center.

You might be able to pull the rack rails from a used server cabinet, for your DIY unit.

I had the space, and it is concealed in a mechanical closet, so I went with a large server cabinet.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #8 of 11 Old 05-04-2011, 02:18 PM
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Call the local commercial custom installers, and ask them if they have any used, and/or to call you when racks become available. Or, ask for suggestions on a source.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #9 of 11 Old 05-05-2011, 04:33 AM - Thread Starter
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Again, no idea what you're talking about.. care to elaborate in a format that does not seem like a spam message?
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post #10 of 11 Old 05-05-2011, 11:01 AM
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You'll need vertical rack rails for your cabinet, you may be able to use rails from a used rack. University surplus is a good resource for obtaining racks and rack hardware cheaply.

If you're still interested in buying a cheap audio rack, ask around.

I guess you weren't really looking for help, just approval.

Make your rack sturdier. Those butt joints won't cut it.

Nice sketchup.

Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense. -Buddha

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post #11 of 11 Old 05-05-2011, 03:48 PM
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Have you considered using t-slot? That would allow you to make a ridiculously strong frame. Its going to cost more than plywood, but will allow easy ventilation on all sides and you don't need any special tools to work with it.
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