Building a Rackmount enclosure
Has anyone built their own rackmount enclosure? I live in an apartment and the only tool I have is a dremel, so I was hoping to be able to do it with acrylic or plexiglass. I could have home depot cut the rectangles out, and I'd drill with my dremel. I was thinking I could reinforce the corners with an extra strip of glued in acrylic. I could also use a few bolts going all the way through the enclosure to help sturdy it up.
Has anyone tried this?
Dear Adam, in my own search for ess and what is known as Christ consciousness in thee occult, I have been inspired to build all my gear from scratch even the rack mount in closures, op amps etc. I will tell you now that you will want something more sturdier than acrylic even if you have to use tools from a friend or on location such as a hardware store you will have much better luck using aluminum then a plastic, not to mention the plastic will look like hell and will not feel sturdy enough on your fingertips as you manipulate the controls. you can contact me if u wish, also if you find any information out or have succeeded or even still struggling please let me know I would love to see what you have come up with or learned. -thee.2.pi.phi.infinity.
Baltic Birch Blywood
Please pardon my bad typing....
Not to use any arcane language... don't waste your time and money on pleixglass or lexan.
Buy two 5' x 5' x 3/4" sheets of Baltic Birch plywood. It is insanely strong and is used as the basic construction material for road cases used by rock 'n' roll musicians. Their "roadies" are notoriously abusive with repsect to equipment cases... and the Baltic Birch cases when glued and screwed together are up to the abuse. it iseasy to finish and / or veneer into furnitore quality constructs.
Buy some four foot rack mount rails (minimum 2 per case). Plan on punting the rails with an approximate 6" recess from the front face of the case.
Using a circular saw with a plywood blade and a guide rail clamped to the plywood, rip the plywood into 5 foot x 2 foot pieces. These are the sides of the case. Do the same rip on the second sheet of plywood.
The domensions tops and bottoms will be prediected by the exact layout of the rackmount rails -- the spacing of the EIA screw holes is EXACTLY 19 inches. Mock up this arrangement and measure the width of the top and bottom pieces needed. (Measure THREE TIMES cut once.)
Buy some 90 degree corner clamps at Home Depot (get 8), and glue your box together with Tightbond glue. When it is securely clamped together, put some good quality Robertson screws into the joints. Let dry over night.
After you have done this I'll help you with building the top shelf and attaching the rackmount rails, casters and handles.
Do you want to build a cabinet with rack rails to mount equipment in? Or a case for an amplifier (say) that could mount in such a case?
If it's the former, there's a place to buy all the hardware to build a standard flight case (extruded aluminum edges, hinges, laminated panels, whatever. (Can't remember the name, but google should find it) And the local music store may know a guy who builds cases in his garage to your specifications. Though if it's just a standard rack case, you can probably get one used or off-the-shelf cheaper. Do keep in mind that you can't install very many 40 pound power amps into a cabinet before it becomes rather difficult to lift.
If the latter... there are no-frills steel cabinets from Mid Atlantic, starting at around $40. I've built various things in cabinets made from Hammond chassis boxes with blank 19" panels bolted on.
A 1/4" to 3/8" hand drill (electric or hand-cranked) will be helpful., ideally with a stepped drill bit (trade name Unibit). A saber saw is good for cutting sheet metal (with the appropriate blade), though a good-sized Dremel with reinforced cutoff wheels (or a saw for aluminum) may be fine. Chinese-made power tools can be picked up dirt cheap on sale, but quality used tools are often even cheaper at yard sales, thrift stores, etc. If you're new to working with metal, read through an old high school shop class textbook; it'll have a lot of practical information.
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