3D Printer Used To Make Custom Blade Server Type Mounting System


We usually have no problem hacking together electronics into something useful. But finding an enclosure that makes sense for the build can be a real drag. In this case [Vincent Sanders] already had a working ARM build farm that leveraged the power of multiple ARM boards. But it was lying in a heap in the corner of the room and if it ever needed service or expansion it was going to be about as fun as having a cavity drilled. But no longer. He took inspiration from how a blade server rack works and 3D printed his own modular rail system for the hardware.

Each group of boards is now held securely in its own slot. The collection seen above mounts in a server rack which has its own power supply. This image is part way through the retrofit which explains why there’s a bunch of random pieces lying around yet. Instead of printing continuous rail [Vincent] uses a threaded rod to span the larger frame, securing small chunks of rail where needed by tightening nuts on either side of them. The white and red trays are prints he ordered from Shapeways designed to secure the eurocard form factor parts.

[Thanks Thomas]

15 thoughts on “3D Printer Used To Make Custom Blade Server Type Mounting System

  1. I imagine this won’t get too much good reception here, judging by the early hecklers, however, I say top-job.

    I’ve got a few old rack-mount schroff cases about my shop, with no fixings anywhere to be seen. This is going in the reading pile for when I finally get around to rack-mounting my PC, etc.

  2. Seeing this reminds me of how I’m always a little surprised at the number of dev boards and kits that (even the quite expensive ones) seem to make no provision at all for the mechanical convenience of the user.

    Sure, it’s a dev board, it doesn’t need to come with some St. Jonny Ives enclosure; but you would think that “Hey, our dev board is about microATX size, if we just move that one screw hole a few mm suddenly our customers will have a zillion cheap case options to at least keep the ESD at bay!” or the equivalent for nearly-eurocard or other conveniently sized boards.

    Obviously, below a certain size, there aren’t many standardized enclosures, so the ‘Altoids reference dimensions’ are as good as anything else, and below a certain price every bit of additional PC board and drill operation counts; but those are pretty close to eurocard, and not exactly bargain-basement boards.

  3. 3d printed anything: “Ooooh, he can use a CAD program and the internet!”
    As nice as this project may be, it’s time to relegate these kinds of projects to the bin. It’s not even craftsmanship.

    1. I’m pretty sure it’s /hackaday/, not /craftsmanshipaday/.

      He took an existing rack system that did not quite fit his needs, designed new parts to accommodate his needs, and then built it. In the process he solved various electrical problems, engineering problems, part sourcing problems, etc. The 3d printer bits he mentioned amounted to “We needed stuff, so I printed it.” in the same way someone says “I needed to measure some signals, so I used my oscilloscope.”

      These particular enclosures did not exist before he built them, and now they do. What he used to create them is relevant insofar as it shows the practicality of a rather novel tool for this exact kind of project. Why is this any less deserving than a PCB etched using toner transfer with parts soldered on to turn Reddit into a game? Because it has a practical purpose it was intended for?

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.