How To Build An Equipment Rack

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HTB-Rack-FinishedHow To Build an Equipment Rack

These specifications, with the exception of the width of the rack, are adjustable. They should be made to the dimensions that best suit your needs. This rack was designed for use in a home studio next to a standard work desk. Any design should also be contingent on the rack rails purchased. Look through the following steps to build your own rack.

1. Consider the wood you want to make the rack out of. If you intend on painting it you can use a cheaper wood that has more flaws because they will be hidden behind the paint. If you want a natural wood look, I’d suggest getting a nicer piece of wood and then staining it to bring out its natural beauty.

HTB-Rack-Wood

2. Most sheets of wood available at Home Depot or Lowes will suffice. A common dimension of wood is 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ which given the specific dimension of this rack will yield up to 2 racks if you use a scrap piece of wood for the bottom of the rack (which should ultimately become hidden by gear). Should you choose to use the same wood for all of the rack you will have leftover material that couple possibly be used for another project.

3. Once you have decided on your wood draw these dimensions precisely with a pencil and straight edge:

Sides of rack: HTB-Rack-Vertical-Wood

1. Bottom width of the rack (front to back) 19.5″

2. Height (bottom to top) 29.5″

3. Top width of the rack (front to back) 16.75″

4. From the bottom dimension make a point 3″ above that point for the kick plate (this is the point at which that rack will begin to slant

5. Draw a line between the top of the kick plate (3″) dimension and the end of the top width of the rack dimension

6. If the edges of your piece of wood is straight (generally they are, or close enough for this) then you can use it as a reference and you will not need to make additional cuts.

7. Your ready to cut the side pieces of the rack. If you have access to a table saw this will yield more precise cuts and the overall rack will look nicer and fit together better, if not, any saw will probably suffice. This rack was done with a battery powered skill saw and it turned out great.

8. If you don’t have a table saw try to clamp a straight edge parallel to the line to be cut. Make sure to set the parallel piece an equal distance from the blade so that you are still cutting on the line you made.

9. Start with either the top or bottom cuts and end with the angled cut.

10. Once every thing is cut and you have one side of the rack, simply trace that piece on to the remaining piece of wood (for symmetry reasons, as well as if you made a mistake at least it will be consistent) and repeat the cutting process.

HTB-Rack-Kick-PlateKick plate:

1. Standard audio gear 1U is precisely 19″. If you make the open of the rack precisely this dimension the gear will be hard to get in and out and will have to be wedged. For this reason 1/8th of an inch should be added so that you have a little bit of room to work with.

2. Make the kick  plate width (side to side) 19 1/8th”

3. Make the height (top to bottom) 3″

4. 2 kick plates should be made (one for the front of the rack and one for the back). The one on the back will be more for stability reasons.

5. Cut with the same technique as with the sides.

Lid (top):

1. This lid was designed to have an overhang of an inch all the way around. It’s an aesthetic choice, and you could have the lid be flush with the sides just make the appropriate adjustments.

2. Width (side to side) 22.5″

3. Length (front to back) 18.5″

4. Cut with same technique as before

* The width dimension is taking into consideration the width of the side of that rack (which is 0.75″) for each side. Your wood doesn’t have to be 0.75″ just be aware of what you are using.

Bottom:

The bottom of this rack was designed to sit inside of the kick plate and the sides. This is an aesthetic choice, you could choose to have the bottom beneath the sides and the kick plate. Make sure to make the appropriate measurement adjustments.

1. Width (side to side) 19 1/8″ 2. Length (front to back) 18″

3. Cut with the same technique as before

Now that everything is cut, painting/staining/etc. can begin. Put the desired amount of coats and let dry thoroughly.

Assemblage:HTB-Rack-Stain

There are numerous routes that could be taken on putting the rack together. This rack was put together with 2″ elbow brackets to connect all pieces. It makes the rack look more vintage and should it ever need repainting etc. it will come apart easily. If you have a nail gun you can shoot nails in all the parts connecting them and this is effective in keeping the rack together, however, it can/will make nasty gouges in the wood and the nail will be seen. You then would have to get wood filler if you didn’t want the look of the nails. I recommend using the brackets and then flowing some wood glue in the seems to increase stability.

1. Start with the bottom and attack the kick plates to it.

2. Add the sides

3. Add the lid

* If the rack doesn’t line up precisely you may have to clean up some of the edges of the kick plate or the bottom. The better the saw and the more precise the cuts, the less time you’ll spend fixing things when trying to put the rack together.

Rack rail mounting:

This rack was designed to accommodate 14 space rails from Middle Atlantic. If your rack is shorter or taller, adjust the rail space accordingly. Placing the rails is an aesthetic choice. Depending on how far back you place them, knobs of the gear make stick out an undesirable amount. This rack was designed with the rails to be back 3/4″ from the front of the sides which was eye-balled based on the pieces of gear and how far out the knobs stuck.

HTB-Rack-Completed

1. If your rack is built to these specifications you’ll notice that the 14 space rail has quite a bit of room to move around (top to bottom). Make a choice as to whether you want the rails all the way to the top, to the bottom or someplace in between. I’d recommend having the rails lower towards the kick plate because if the rails are too high the piece of gear at the top of the rack maybe hard to see as it will be hidden under the lid.

2. Make your measurement for how far back the rails will sit. In this case 3/4″. Make a measurement towards the top of the rack and one towards the bottom and then line up the rack rail.

3. There are many different holes to choose from when screwing in the rails. Use whatever works and put a screw every 3 or 4 holes.

The rack is done now and gear is ready to be rack mounted.

-Will Klingenmeier

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