Rackmount Hardware Placement Issues? IKEA LACK To The Rescue!

The LackRack Enterprise Edition in Revspace, Netherlands

[hackbyte] reminds us about a classic hack that, even though we’ve seen floating around for over a decade, has somehow never quite graced our pages before. Many of us keep small home labs and even, at times, collections of servers that we’d be comfortable be calling mini-datacenters. However, if you use the ever-abundant 19″ switches, servers and other hardware, keeping these mounted and out of the way can be a thorny experience. Which leads us to, undoubtedly, unintentional – but exceptionally handy – compatibility between IKEA LACK table series and 19″ rackmount hardware.

The half-humorous half-informative wiki page on Eth0Wiki talks about this idea in depth, providing a myriad of examples and linking to pages of other hackerspaces and entities who implemented this idea and improved upon it. These tables look nice and fit anywhere, stack neatly when not in use, and you can put a bottle of Club-Mate on top. Aka, they’re the exact opposite of cheap clunky cabinets actually designed for rackmount you can buy, and cost a fraction of the price. What’s not to love?

You can buy a whole lot of cheap hardware in 19″, and arguably, that’s where you can get the best hardware for your dollar. Many a hackerspace has used these tables for makeshift infrastructure, permanent in all but intent. So, in case some of us missed the memo, now you are aware of yet another, underappreciated solution for mounting all these servers we get for cheap when yet another company replaces its equipment – or undergoes a liquidation. If LackRack hasn’t been on your radar – what have you been using for housing your rackmount hardware collection?

Wondering what to do with an old server? Building a powerful workstation is definitely on the list. Alternatively, you could discard the internals and stuff it full of Raspberry Pi!

18 thoughts on “Rackmount Hardware Placement Issues? IKEA LACK To The Rescue!

  1. Wow! that is ancient but a nice shoutout to the eth0 events! We’re getting ready to organise one this fall, hope to see some friends there.

    Also, the ‘revelation space’ one in the photo is from revspace.nl. We’re still here, in the The Hague area, feel welcome to drop by sometime!

  2. Nice… a few months ago, I figured out that you could make a $2500 equivalent “gaming rig” out of Xeon blade servers and mezzanine style GPUs that go a lot cheaper than desktop counterparts, for about $500. The problem was of course that it would be fugly and hard to house neatly in anything home appropriate … this looks like a good candidate.

    1. BTW also looks trivial to extend the legs of it to make it your desk. Even if you are extremely unhandy you can get some PVC or ABS pipe pieces cut at your friendly local hardware store and “interference fit” them on the legs to extend them. (i.e. find the diameter that fits tight on the leg.)

  3. Synth players and other home studio owners have been using Lack tables like this for decades. The 19″ rack format is very widely used for synths, effects and lots of other audio gear.

  4. I did something like this with a surplus LaCie 1U mini-itx server. I was trying to run FreeNAS on it so I could have all our media attached to our TV back about 13 years ago. The server was, of course, insanely loud, because its fans were designed to move air outside of a narrow space.

    The experiment didn’t last long, obviously. We still have the LACK side table that I mounted L-brackets on, and the screw holes are still in the bottom of it.

  5. @Arsenijs Picugins said: “…and you can put a bottle of Club-Mate on top.”

    Club-Mate (German pronunciation: [ˈklʊp ˈmaːtə]) is a caffeinated carbonated mate-extract beverage made by the Loscher Brewery (Brauerei Loscher) near Münchsteinach, Germany, which originated in 1924.[1] Club-Mate has 200 mg of caffeine per L. Club-Mate has a relatively low sugar content of 50 g per L, and low calories (200 kcal per L of beverage) compared to other beverages such as cola or most energy drinks.


    Mate or maté[a], (‘mat̪e) maté is[b]a traditional South American caffeine-rich infused drink. It is made by soaking dried leaves of the Yerba mate Ilex paraguariensis, in hot water and is served with a metal straw in a container typically made from a calabash gourd (the mate proper), but also in some areas made from a cattle horn (guampa).


  6. Careful – “Lack” is a whole series of different Ikea products of same/similar design style. In fact there are several different sized “Lack” stools and end tables that are different sizes but look identical, especially online. To mount a 19 inch chassis I’m pretty sure you want the “Lack Side Table” with these specs:

    $17.99 ea., Length: 21 5/8 “, Width: 21 5/8 “, Height: 17 3/4 “, Artcle No. 200.114.08


    That one is black, but It comes in four colors.

  7. I just used a couple of right angle brackets meant for supporting air conditioners and spaced them the appropriate distance apart. Vertical mount FTW… if you ignore the dust.

  8. While the LACK series is okay for the cost, if you have more than 3-4U of *compute* equipment they can start to have a hard time with the weight, being made from essentially what is fancy folded cardboard… They also look a bit terrible if you have more than a few cords as well.

    It turns out that if you walk around with a measuring tape, there is a surprising about of Ikea shelving that is somewhat close to the rack standards. :)

    For quite some time I used the wider HEJNE shelving that is made out of a softwood that you can quite easily paint and modify. It quite happily held a hundred pounds or so and the shelving and spacing made it nice to have my UPS, a few servers, and then the “appliances” like my cable modem all nicely shelved, and the holes make ziptie cable management really easy.

    And if you want something even fancier, but isnt quite rack compliant, they have a garage product called BROR that is all metal shelving.
    My current homelab is on the BROR cart and with a removable gel-like double-sided tape everything is really well held together. It isn’t cheap, but it looks much better than the homemade rack that I tried so I think it will live here for quite some time.

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