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New seems like the most plausible forum
…and certainly the signal-to-noise ratio is favorable.

I essay a significant reorganization of my desk at home as I retire Auld Paint, this ten year-old iMac, and replace it with Big Cheese, a less-auld and considerably better tricked-out machine, a couple of weekends from now. Big Cheese is bulky enough on its own, but it will be driving a big ol’ honking 30-inch monitor, and between them they will be taking up enough real estate to make my working surface insuperably crowded. I propose, accordingly, to mount several components on a “rack” at one end of the desk. As I (vividly!) envisage the setup, it will be steel-framed of “Erector Set”-like elements (obviously sturdier), open on all sides except for a portion of one on which sundry power strips and hubs will be mounted, that will accommodate my little laser printer, several external drives and optical burners, and my scanner.

I’m a little sticker-shocked at the prices for “server racks,” and even for the types of components (steel rails of an “L” cross-section; perforated metal shelves) I might need for a DIY rack. I’m rather more confident of my ability to screw something together than I am of tackling a carpentry-based project. Has anyone here ever put something like this together?

New Kinda sorta.
One can easily spend $600+ on something from AnthroCart.

I made a small rolling cart for 2 tower PCs, space for a keyboard and a monitor, and a bottom shelf, on casters, out of 3/4" plywood and some oak 1.5" x 1.5" posts. That was maybe $100-$150.

It sounds like you really want something customized for your dimensions, made out of aluminum framing material. 80-20 has everything you need, and will cut and drill everything to your exact specifications (and even work with you on the design). But it won't be cheap (though I don't know how much it will be). There's a lab at work that was renovated and it has an elaborate, customized, overhead rack system from them.

If you have a miterbox and a hacksaw and are patient, you can cut the extrusions yourself. McMaster-Carr sells similar framing parts, fasteners, etc., but you'd have to do the design and cutting (and any drilling) yourself. Now that I check more carefully, they will cut pieces for you as well, but cut prices are by the inch.

Alternatively, you could think about getting some chrome wire shelving. Lowe's, HD, etc., can have a decent selection. I think it's better to buy things like that in the store because shipments of stuff like that from Amazon can get really beat up, and returns are a pain. You might need to get some other material to cover the horizontal wires, though, depending on the details of your application. Lots of them don't come with casters, but they often are tapped for casters and one can add them pretty easily (if that's your thing) though the thread might be weird (some are metric).

HTH a little. Good luck!

New Thanks for the pointers
Both sources (particularly McMaster-Carr) look as though they would fit the bill conceptually; both are rather dear. There’s a pre-fab solution that’s approximately what I had in mind, and within my hoped-for budget, although I’d need an additional surface on top, and the cantilever shelves don’t thrill me.

New Understood.
It is amazing how expensive that stuff can be. :-(

Have you checked eBay?

E.g. 22U rack for $197 (38.5" of equipment mounting height)

18U rack for $106 (no casters) (31.5" of equipment mounting height).

Either of those things are likely not extremely strong (they need to be assembled), and you'd have to check carefully to see how many "cage nuts" (the captured nuts that mount in the vertical rails with the square cutouts) are included, etc., etc., but it might be a decent starting point.

The most recent small rack I bought was one of these. It was $489 in 2014. It's very strong and a beast of a thing (I mounted it on casters). But it's not what you're looking for. ;-)

Just another possible couple of options to think about.

Good luck!!

New Ah!
Some promising stuff there. Thanks.
New Yeah, I love old racks, amazingly useful
At one point I cleaned out a dead mini room. It had matching tape libraries. 9 tracks. Multiple rooms filled with thousands of them. They were contained in full rack size cabinets with vertical sliding metal accordion doors. Simple center bar hangers, but sturdy. Each weighed about 200 pounds. I took multiple pickup loads of the cabinets home. Probable about $50k in original cost. Lined my basement and garage walls with them. Then went to home depot and had a bunch of plywood cut for shelves. Was an amazing salvage.
New dunno if they have flee markets waay east of you
but wire display racks from stores are just the ticket and should be sub $20 bucks
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman
New I am tempted to behave unethically
Having assembled (with no small effort, and a certain amount of muttered swearing, although the printed instructions, while terse, were straightforward) my “server rack,” I ordered a metal pegboard from a well-known online retailer. I will attach this to the side of the unit, and it will hold hubs and power strips and other ancillary hardware that presently clutters my horizontal surfaces. Alas, it arrived munched on one corner, probably in consequence of the unexpectedly heavy* package being dropped in transit. The damage is cosmetic rather than functional, but still, one would like to receive one’s new merchandise in, well, new condition. Nevertheless, I am disposed to shrug and let it pass. I would incline to do so even had the well-known retailer not shipped me four other units, all identically blemished, in the same consignment, charging me for just the one. I suppose that the ethical thing to do would be to bring the matter to the retailer’s attention, but this would involve me in unasked-for effort and delay, so I think I’m going to accept the crunched corner(s) without demur and find some alternative uses around The Crumbling Manse™ for the other units. What say you, my auditors? Ought I return the excess pegboards?


*for obvious reasons
New Allow a suitable amount of time to pass
for them to recognise their mistake, then you should consider them yours.

This line of thinking is why I've got a pristine extra pair of wellies.

(Amazon vendor failed to ship, I complained, two pairs turned up, and I could not be bothered to expend any more effort of any kind on a purchase totalling £15)
New I had the same thing happen with a pair of bicycle rims a few years back.
Mailed the supplier to ask, they said "Oops" and sent a pair of new ones... Then both pairs arrived. Not sure in which order, but anyway the first-sent ones had apparently got stuck somewhere in Finnish Posti and/or Customs. Phoned the supplier to ask if they wanted one pair back, was told not to bother.

So, sorry Rand... That little anecdote yields no useful advice either way; doing what I did might or might not have the same result I got. All told, probably what others have said: Don't nail them up anywhere for a while yet, in case they get in touch and want them back within the next month or whatever period you find appropriate. After that, they're yours.
Christian R. Conrad
Same old username (as above), but now on iki.fi

(Yeah, yeah, it redirects to the same old GMail... But just in case I ever want to change.)
New I believe that falls under the unsolicited rule, wait for a bit to see if they ask for them back
"Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts" – Richard Feynman
New This. It's not your fault that they made a mistake in your favor.
Don't feel bad for them - it probably costs them more to take the stuff back than for you to keep it.

We got a cabinet from Crate and Barrel. It arrived damaged. We called them up and asked about their policy of making us happy. They offered some money back. We asked about returning it and getting another one shipped. They offered much more money back. We accepted their offer. (If they took it back, they would have had to offer more off to sell it, plus the cost of keeping it around.)

It's worth much more to Big River for you to be happy.

New That approximately mirrors my thinking
Plus, the returned merchandise would probably be unsaleable in its blemished condition.

I made my final weekend run to the BrainDead Building today, and carted out everything that needed motor transport to convey home. What little remains can be hand-toted across the Bay incrementally over the course of the next five work days. I left the office looking as though it had been tossed by particularly vindictive secret police, but that can be corrected by Friday next. I’m about to shut down the home iMac (treacherous, unreliable machine, unlike its angelic twin carried home from work today) and swap in “Big Cheese,” the new/old 12-core jobbie. Wish me luck.

New Luck!!
New Settling in, and...
I took down the old setup last night, and fucking hell, what a mangrove swamp of cables, cords, power strips, hubs and peripherals (beneath a rich integument of dust) I had permitted to sprout there behind the ol’ iMac. As I configure the new system, I will attempt to impose a rational order upon these things (to paraphrase Greta Garbo, we will have fewer but better peripherals).

New I've become a big fan of velcro cable ties.
They probably collect some dust over the years, but they hold things tight and are easy to disassemble, and easy to size to wrap any size bundle. E.g., but there are many varieties.

     seems like the most plausible forum - (rcareaga) - (17)
         Kinda sorta. - (Another Scott) - (2)
             Thanks for the pointers - (rcareaga) - (1)
                 Understood. - (Another Scott)
         Try here - (crazy) - (2)
             Ah! - (rcareaga) - (1)
                 Yeah, I love old racks, amazingly useful - (crazy)
         dunno if they have flee markets waay east of you - (boxley)
         I am tempted to behave unethically - (rcareaga) - (7)
             Allow a suitable amount of time to pass - (pwhysall) - (1)
                 I had the same thing happen with a pair of bicycle rims a few years back. - (CRConrad)
             I believe that falls under the unsolicited rule, wait for a bit to see if they ask for them back -NT - (boxley) - (3)
                 This. It's not your fault that they made a mistake in your favor. - (Another Scott) - (2)
                     That approximately mirrors my thinking - (rcareaga) - (1)
                         Luck!! -NT - (Another Scott)
             Nothing unethical about it - (crazy)
         Settling in, and... - (rcareaga) - (1)
             I've become a big fan of velcro cable ties. - (Another Scott)

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