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Mikeland
Computer Rack

This project brings together two interests - woodworking and computer hardware.

With 2 tower PCs,  a 17” LCD monitor, a laptop, 2 printers, a scanner, a cable modem, an 8-port router/switch, a wireless hub, keyboard/mouse and a nightmarish tangle of cables on my desk, I figured it was time to do something. I was thinking ahead to getting another computer to dedicate to hosting my web site and I physically didn’t have enough space.  My department at IBM has a lab with an impressive set of rack servers, so I started investigating racks for my own. After I picked myself off the floor after finding out the prices, I decided I would build my own.

I ordered a simple 19” anodized aluminum rack frame for $79 and built a cabinet around it with oak plywood.  To cover up the exposed plywood edges, I put a trim of walnut on - a bit of style couldn’t hurt!

The rack is currently configured as you see it on the right. At the bottom are my main tower and the original UPS.  Next up is the new APC rack-mount UPS, with the scanner on that.  Next up is the HP laser printer, followed by the 1U rack-mount web server. Above that is the home-brew 4U file server, then the 8-port KVM. At the top is the new Canon inkjet printer.  Hidden behind the printer are the cable modem and 8-port firewall/router.

On the left you see the back view. The light brown contraption on the left side of the 1U rack is designed to reduce the jet-engine noise the exhaust fan produces.  I picked up the cable management tracks at Home Depot - 4 @ $5. Cheap!

You can see that the UPS is just hanging off the back edge of the rack - if I had to do it again, I would make it 3’ deep, not just 2’ (cut a 4’ x 8’ sheet of plywood the long way).