[SpookyGhost] has a big home network, and has taken cable management and server organization to the extreme. He has written about individual components before, but this blog post brings it all together and reviews the entire system. The networking gear is installed in a closet and mounted in a 25U tall 19-inch rack. From top to bottom, here is a brief list of the gear:
Keystone patch panels
pfSense Firewall / Router
Two Cisco Ethernet switches
Redundant internet connections
Shelf of numerous servers
RAID-Z2, 12 each 8 TB SCSI, media storage
NAS RAID, 6 ea 4 TB SAS, 2 ea 800 GB SSD
Video Management System, 48 TB storage
UPS and power distribution units
Most of the Ethernet uses 10GBASE-T and Cat6 cabling and connectors, with some interconnects use fiber optical cable and LC connectors. Unsurprisingly, as this setup grew and grew, [spooky] had to pipe in air-conditioning to the closet.
This is a serious installation, but there are plenty of good ideas for folks with less ambitious networking goals and/or requirements. We liked the swappable Keystone jacks in the patch panels, and the cable pass-through panel with a dense curtain of rubber fringe to keep things looking tidy. If you have any ideas to share on network equipment and cable management, let us know in the comments.
[Steven Bennett] is so fond of Dyson’s new Lightcycle lamp that he’s decided to clone his own version in the spirit of the original. Dyson, however, knows what makes their lamp so special — so much that they patented their technique for tucking away the power wiring. Undaunted, [Steven]’s latest challenge has been to create a cable management solution that captures the elegance of the original without making a flat-out duplicate.
[Steven]’s latest update starts with the details of the original model’s patent. In a nutshell, Dyson’s elegance comes from both a flat cable (a flex PCB, perhaps?) and a magnetic interface that transfers power between the two primary structural beams. The latter half discusses [Steven]’s alternate solution: a miniature drag chain that can be 3D printed to arbitrary lengths. Like the flat flexible cable, this cable rides in the groove of the lamp’s two structural beams; but unlike the original, it spools outwards into a hoop on one end of its travel length. Overall [Steven] is quite happy with this result, and we think this solution gives the lamp a charm that’s distinctly original.
Capturing the design essence doesn’t just stop at wire management though. Have a look at some previous video logs in the series to get a sense of some of the other challenges faced in both heat dissipation and mechanical feel.
Wire management, when done well, scratches a design itch somewhere in the back of our heads. If you’re curious for more cable management solutions, have a look at some of these other tricks that use tape measure or involve a DIY coiling method.
A KVM is a great tool for administering a number of different computers without cluttering one’s desk with extra peripherals, or for having to re-connect the keyboard, video, and mouse to each new machine as needed. For local administration this can save a ton of time and headache. For remote administration, though, a virtual KVM is needed, and although these solutions are pricey it’s possible to build one around a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost. This one adds even more functionality by also switching the ATX signals from the motherboard and simplifying cable management to boot. Continue reading “Pi-Cast Adds ATX Signalling To KVM”→
For all their portability, multiple laptops can be a bit clunky to manage on a desk, so [Marco]’s solution definitely saves space while keeping things accessible. The laptop in the front can be open for use and easy access, while the two in the back are held vertically and can be attached to external monitors or other peripherals.
Not only does it save space, but the stand provides ample spots to anchor cable ties for securing the inevitable mess of wires and cables that dealing with three laptops brings. It makes for a tidier desk, that’s for sure.
The stand was designed in Fusion 360 and was cut from plywood with a CNC router. Does this design give you any ideas, or would you like to make one for yourself? The design files are here.
Annoyed by excessively-long cables? Tired of the dull drudgery and ugly results of bunching up the slack and wrapping it with a twist-tie? Suffer no longer, because the solution is to make your own coiled cables!
The process begins with wrapping a cable around a mandrel, then heating it as uniformly as possible to thermoform the jacket, but the instructional video (embedded below) says that all by itself that isn’t quite enough to yield lasting results. After heating the cable and letting it cool, the coils will be formed but it will not hold the new shape very well. The finishing touch is to “reverse” the direction of the coils, by re-wrapping it backward around the mandrel, inverting the coils upon themselves. This process is awkward to explain, but much simpler to demonstrate. This video by [DailySetupTech] explains this process around the 2:30 mark. That final step is what yields a tightly-wound, springy coil.
The nice part about using this process as a cable management technique is that it is possible to coil only a portion of a cable, leaving the exact amount of uncoiled slack required for a given application. Keep it in mind the next time some cables need managing. And if you don’t want to coil a cable but still need it out of the way, you might find this design for a DIY cable chain made from a tape measure useful.
You might remember the old Apple MagSafe adaptor with the cute little fold out “wings” that served not only as a pragmatic cable management tool, but in our experience also expedited the inevitable and frayed end of your charger. Apple seems to have remedied the latter by opting for removable USB-C cables in latest designs, but the complete omission of a pop-out cable spooling contraption is problematic.
[Eric], an industrial designer, took it upon himself to design a 3D printed add on for the new generation of chargers. His video is certainty one of those satisfying accounts, where the whole process from conceptional sketch to a working Hack is neatly self-contained in a single video. The design is largely based off the original version, implemented in PLA together with piano wire serving as the hinge pin. We think this is a very good example of how 3D printers can be used to personalise and tweak commercial products to suite particular needs.
Long cables are only neat once – before they’re first unwrapped. Once that little cable tie is taken off, a cable is more likely to end up rats-nested than neatly coiled.
Preventing that is the idea behind this 3D-printed cable reel. The cable that [Kevin Balke] wants to make easier to deal with is a 50 foot (15 meters) long Vive lighthouse sync cable. That seems a bit much to us, but it makes sense to separate the lighthouses as much as possible and mount them up high enough for the VR system to work properly.
[Kevin] put a good deal of effort into making this cable reel, which looks a little like an oversize baitcasting-style fishing reel. The cable spool turns on a crank that also runs a 5:1 reduction geartrain powering a shaft with a deep, shallow-pitch crossback thread. An idler runs in the thread and works back and forth across the spool, laying up the incoming cable neatly. [Kevin] reports that the reciprocating mechanism was the hardest bit to print, as surface finish affected the mechanism’s operation as much as the geometry of the mating parts. The video below shows it working smoothly; we wonder how much this could be scaled up for tidying up larger cables and hoses.