Build Your Own Computer Rack

rack server

Most geeks dream of rackmounting their gear. The fact that most rack equipment is purchased by companies means it’s way too overpriced. Seriously, $60 for a drawer? The best solution for us is to build our own. Here’s a build from the ground up. It starts with the basic 19″ rack. Then adds fileservers and other components. Make sure you check out the homemade power rails.

32 thoughts on “Build Your Own Computer Rack

  1. i don’t dream of rackmounting anything, for now a regular utility shelf in a closet serves my needs. however if i ever acquire enough 19″ equipment, i’ve seen “racks” made from two 2×4’s with appropriately spaced pilot holes and 1/4″ lag bolts.

  2. Dude needs to spend more time planning V1 and less time building V2 and V3. “Oops I forgot I need a PCI card in there…” and “Oops that solid block of 8 drives might need some cooling and wiring” :P He’d be one dangerous mofo if he could get it right the first time.

  3. Saw this girl the other day – she had a nice rack…

    Seriously, it’s actually quite cheap to get the rack strips and cage bolts. It only get ludicrous when you buy the whole full size units.

    Ex Govt auctions are a good place to pick up rack gear and such for practically nothing.

  4. i really like the craftmanship of this rack, very neat and clean, however there could be some design flaws. The hard drives are too close too each other and he is using windows xp on mini itx. Those servers would be alright for personal needs, but to share stuff, linux should have been the way to go for mini itx. Overall this person did a pretty good job, really like his craftmanship.

  5. I thought the overall look of the rack was very nice. I agree that there are some design flaws with the actual cases, but a good start/idea nonetheless. I wouldn’t mind building me one, except I think the noise from the fans and the heat would be too much for my room. I have a cabinet right now with a private A/C for 7 computers.

  6. I cheated,I went to the auctions and got a rack mount dual Piii 1.2ghz, 1024mb ram, 1+4x 36GB(boot+raid5) scsi Hard drives and it even had agp. and the best bit is that when for less then $300AUD (about$200us)
    now someones old web server is my new server I only wish I could have got more then 1 of 26

  7. It is a nice design with great craftmanship. It is hard to keep tight line when you cut the panel holes like he did. Especially when you are lazy like me!!

    I would not recommend this design if you plan to move the rack around, like to lan parties. The front panel is too thin, and will crumble when the box gets bumped while being moved. The vibration mode of the panel is probably close to a car/hand cart’s vibration frequencies. If you do try this, try looking into the racks with rear mounting holes. Or you can find cheap slider rails that will anchor the sides like a drawer.

  8. by rob

    I cheated,I went to the auctions and got a rack mount dual Piii 1.2ghz, 1024mb ram, 1+4x 36GB(boot+raid5) scsi Hard drives and it even had agp. and the best bit is that when for less then $300AUD (about$200us)
    now someones old web server is my new server I only wish I could have got more then 1 of 26
    Wow, that’s a great deal.

  9. the rack looks great
    but personaly why would you want to lug around that much gear to a lan party

    the idea of a rack has always been a nice central place to put the computer that don’t see much user intervention I plan on racking my 3 servers
    I have a dual 1.4ghz p3 xeon with 1 gig of rdram
    and a ati fireGL agp card in it no drive though but it cost me about $400cdn ibm intellistation

    and my second server and my asterisk server all need a home so I plan on building a rack as well

  10. What use is a rack server for a home user? It is a real waste of electricity, ones time and money. It will not serve any purpose unless it is put to use for say hosting your own websites.

    But considering the knowledge factor, I think it is a good project.

  11. I’m a Ham radio operator, as well as someone who hardware hacks and did some ROV/robotics stuff for a while as well.
    I ran all my gear in a couple of 6-foot high equipment racks that I managed to salvage.

    I also had access to used rack shelves and some rack hardware that the company I was working for at the time was fabricating as well.

    i ran a rack setup for a couple of years, but dismantled it all because it was too huge for my small workshop/den

    The upsides:

    One hell of a cool looking setup. aka: Mission Control

    Total access to your equipment, front and back

    interconnecting cables can be kept shorter and neater

    hearing my mother-in-law say “holy crap, it’s like nasa in here”: priceless :D

    The downsides:

    large racks can require almost as much floor space as a phone booth, so you need more room to be able to get to things easily front and back

    lots of hardware for attaching the equipment, rack shelves, power strips, and other stuff that will accumulate inside your racks
    nuts and bolts, wire ties, velcro, and more!
    budgets for these things can creep

  12. I’ve been looking for a small rack to mount my Compaq 6400R 4U server that I use for my web/mail/wiki/development machine (that I got for $50US), along with some yet to be bought RAID expansion chassis.. I’ve found quite a few racks being sold via Craigslist in my local area — many are cheap (<$100) depending on what you're looking for. Some people just want to get rid of them and you can get some good deals. Unfortunately, I'm not looking for 42U rack so I'm a bit more picky.

  13. I found my way here looking for ideas on how to arange my computers. I’ve got “several”, and not just to make a super computer but because I’ve got a web server, movie server, media server and a client hooked up to each TV to watch shows on. I’ve also got back up machines for the important ones. None of my stuff is “rack” mountable, so I’m looking for ideas.

  14. I built a $50 server rack out of 2x4s. I designed it in Google sketch-up. I have a video and some plans on my blog. I had fun building it. I just added a 16 port Cat5e patch panel and a little bit better wiring. Its to cold outside to keep going on it. Check out my blog posting @

    This video is in a later post @

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