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Monday, September 4, 2017

DIY Network Rack

My network gear has growing like a travelling watermelon vine, so I decided its time to consolidate everything into some sort of 19" rack. A friend gave me a pair of rack rails a few months ago and I set about figuring out how I was going to implement them. After some research and thought, I found a simple design using 2x4s connected with pocket screws to frame out the rails from a fellow blogger which can be found here Tom Builds Stuff - DIY Server Rack Plans.

I've always been pleased with pocket hole joinery via my Kreg Jig. For this build I wanted to go heavy duty and used a Kreg KJHD jig with their Heavy Duty pocket screws. Kreg's KJHD line is for use in 2x4, 2x6, etc lumber. The screws as you can see are heavier and are come with an anti-corrosion coating with for outdoor use. As usual, the whole process of doing pocket joints is a pleasure.

Most of my lumber I already had sitting around. Several pieces I had were from old skids that were full of staples that I was going to burn, so I pulled them out of my recycle pile, removed the staples and cut off the bad parts. The wheels are 3" polyurethane with both wheel lock and caster lock cost about $7.50 per wheel. I liked them better than the wheels at Harbor Freight and they were only about $7.50 per wheel. You can find them HERE on Amazon. My rack won't see much rolling, but I wanted to be able to easily swing the rack around to access the back.

I was going to make a plywood top and bottom, however I had those recycled 2x4 scraps laying around to put to use and the whole open space concept for airflow was appealing to me. I placed the 2x4s across the width on the bottom because I knew I'd have a long UPS and a PC needing depth support. The top I figured I might have a monitor and keyboard for server access, so I placed 2x4's across front to back to support wide items.

Here you can see my initial setup of the rack in my basement, next to a workbench and the rear of my in wall audio rack. With all 4 wheels locked, I was relieved that the rack is pretty solid. This was a concern, as I wanted to keep the NAS as stable as possible. Theres still some cleanup to do, but its up and running. Best of all, there is no glue in the rack and I'm free to break down the entire thing and reuse any of it at anytime I want, or add to it in any way I see fit. Versatility is the name of the game when you build it yourself.

Below is a list of some of the gear currently in the rack, with links.

Ubiquiti US-24 port Unifi Switch
Ubiquiti Unifi Security Gateway (router)
Ubiquiti Unifi Cloudy Key
Ubiquiti Networks Unifi 802.11ac Dual-Radio PRO Access Point (not pictured)
Motorola SB6141 Cable Modem
Synology DS1817+ 8GB NAS - loaded with 5 HGST 8TB NAS drives in a RAID6 array and 2 Samsung 2TB Spinpoint drives in a RAID0 array.
Synology DS211 - backup target 2 Seagate 4TB drives in a RAID0 array.
Western Digital MyBook 4TB USB3 - backup target
SiliconeDust HDHomeRun Extend - Over the air networked HD broadcast tuner (new version)
APC SUA1000XL Battery Backup - Extended Runtime battery backup.
Dell Studio XPS9000 - Core i7 4GB - Sitting idle for future use.