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Old 20th January 2007, 02:02 AM   #1
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Default DIY Stereo Cabinet

Well, at my school, the semester just changed and I'm now enrolled in Industrial Tech (shop), and I'd like to build myself a nice stereo cabinet to house my electronics, and anything else I might get in the future.

At the moment my plans aren't exactly detailed, but I have an idea of what I want.

The Cabinet

First, I want it to be a stereo cabinet centered around rack mount equipment since it makes for a much nicer organization system. I would like to use the rails available at Parts Express to start. Has anybody had any experience with these? They are quite a bit cheaper than most other rails I have found at other supply sites.

I plan to build the entire cabinet out of some type of hardwood such as oak or hickory. This is not only because it is strong and sturdy, but because it should look very good once stained.

I plan to make the cabinet with glass doors which I would prefer to be tinted in order to darken them. While I believe this will make it look better, will it affect any IR signals from remote controls? If so, I would like help finding an affordable IR repeater/transmitter to capture the signal and relay it back to the components.

Lastly, I'll just mention that on the back, I want to have hookups for all of my signal wires and outputs so that the entire enclosure looks neater (since it's a closed back) and so that it's easier to move around if need be. I'll elaborate more on this later.

In order to keep the entire enclosure cool since it will be closed, I would like to install ~4 fans in the enclosure to pull cool air in the bottom and push hot air out of the top. I was looking at getting some super quite, 120mm fans such as the ones I found at Newegg. I am thinking I should go with the 1600 rpm models so that if I need the higher airflow I have it, however I was thinking about running the fans off of a power source with a potentiometers on the supply line in order to control the voltage, and so the speed of the fans.

Furthermore, I am considering building some sort of LED lighting system into the case, however I'm not 100% sure on that idea.

I also would like to build the entire enclosure on some type of casters (removable or permanent...) so that I can move the cabinet easily if needed. I have yet to look for a set of appealing casters that look nice and function well.

Internals
Inside, there are a couple of things I would like. One, I want to get myself a power conditioner for two functions. 1) I live on a farm and my father often times has bin fans, agars, and other high power systems starting up which cause all of the lights in our house to dim temporarily. I want to protect against this power sag. 2) I want one nice switch to turn on and off the entire system without having to hit numerous switches. Also, having a power distribution panel keeps with my theme of having it as much self contained as possible.

Also, in order to keep all of the wires organized, I would like to devise some type of system of cable organization. However, almost everything I have found for rack cable management has been what I consider to be way overpriced.

Around the internet, I have read that keeping the inside of the cabinet black will help to hide wires since it reduces diffused light. However, I don't know if I want to just paint the inside of the cabinet black. I want something that is a little more visually appealing; perhaps a very dark stain will work?

The Back Panel
This section is what I am most unsure of what I really want. Since I want the case to be practically self contained, I want a panel on the backside of the cabinet to act much like a patch panel when working with networking devices. I want as many things as possible routed through a panel that I want to recess into the case so that any RCA plugs or other connections have enough room since I want to place the cabinet close to a wall.

I first thought about just mounting different binding posts and other jacks to another panel of wood. However, after running across Penn Fabrication's website, I like the idea of having something like their MSB system mounted in a 2 or 3 space rack on the rear of the enclosure to put my connections on. I think this would be advantageous because it would allow me to switch out connections and panels as I change equipment over the years. However, I have been unable to find any sources for pricing. Can I assume it will be expensive; I expect they'll cost more than just a blank rack panel, right? Are there better alternatives to what I'm looking to do?

For anybody who's gotten through all of this, first I apologize for the extremely long post, and second I thank you for reading through it.

Any comments, criticisms, ideas, or suggestions are welcome.

Also, I plan to update this thread as I get things accomplished. I'm going to try really hard to remember to bring my camera to school so that I can take some pictures of the construction of the cabinet, but first, I have to find out what I want exactly and I need to get some blue prints drawn up.

Once again, thanks for any help.
Logan
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Old 28th December 2010, 04:50 PM   #2
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Join Date: Dec 2010
Default Stereo Cabinet

Lightwave,
Did you ever figure out what you wanted to do about the back of your cabinet. I'm trying to figure out the same thing, how to vent/cool the unit and still provide ready access to all terminations. If you're still out there I'll tell what I've done so far. BB2011
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Old 28th December 2010, 09:48 PM   #3
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Holy thread revival!

Anyways here is what I would do:
If you keep it standard IT rack dimensions (19" rack standard) there is a wide variety of things you can do.

When it comes to cooling, easiest is to mount fans at the top and bottom. Top pulling air out, bottom pushing air in. How many cfm etc. that you need will depend on the heat output of your devices.

Personally, I would build it leaving only the front open. Top, bottom, sides and back closed. Then you can devise your own method using panel blanks and panel mount connectors on how to make your pass throughs on the front. On the back for ease of use a door that can be latched/locked closed would be good.

For power, I would use a PDU or port splitter to spread power to all of the devices. Plus maybe mount a couple of power connections on a separate patch panel at the bottom (have the audio connections on the top).
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