Home Built Server Rack

Finished Product

In order to organize my lab a bit better, I decided to custom build a server rack. This was to be the same height as my desk and also be usable as more work surface area. I determined that a 15u rack would be the the best size, and it would give me some room to grow as well since i only currently have a few things that can fit in the rack (The Fractal Design Define XL R2 is far too big to fit, so its just the vhost, networking equipment and some RPIs). First off, the design, which ended up being slightly incorrect on sizing of one of the components.

The Schematics used

I didn’t take into account top panel of the rack, so I ended up changing some of the board layouts and everything worked since all boards are the same thickness. This is built out of cabinet board for the sides and top, and some 1×4’s internally to add reinforcement by the rails.

Assembling the sides

Sides were assembled first, then in order to make absolutely certain i didn’t size things wrong, the rest was assembled with rack shelves and a 10/100 switch holding the sides at the right distance apart. I used a large number of wood screws to hold the rail onto the sides, and wood glue between the side panel and 1×4’s. This provides a bit of a gap between the servers and the sidepanels which wiring can run through, or lighting (I’ve considered adding some led lighting for when I have to work on the hardware in there).

Once everything was assembled, it went to sanding and finishing. I used danish oil as it should be a solid finish that lasts a long time, and looks pretty good.

First Layout, UPS in the rack

The first layout had the UPS in the rack, but I decided against this later as it took up a majority of the space, which I would rather take up with hardware. The current hardware in it includes my Vhost, 2 RPI 3B+ with POE hats, a Unifi L2 POE switch and a USG Pro. The network gear is back mounted, which is a massive pain to manage moving hardware about, but its easy enough to get to for connecting devices to the network.