Tuesday, August 4, 2015

LackRack - A Cheap Living Room 19" Rack

I needed space so I decided to expand my desk. While I was entertaining several ideas about how to best do that, I also happened to measure some of my existing furniture. My first discovery was that some compartments in my old Ikea bookshelf have dimensions that are suitable (more or less) for 19" equipment. My second discovery was that the very same is true for the Ikea LACK tables. And my third, and quickest, discovery was to find out that I am not the first person to discover that: Like for most things on the internet, there already exists a community around the use of LACK tables as 19" racks, and the official name for this purpose is ( - wait for it - ) LackRack. Apparently first seen on an IT related event, LackRack quickly gathered a small fanbase in the DIY server/network and music scenes, due to is cheap price, availability and flexibility.

However, for my LackRack  I pictured several features that differed from the standard solutions yone finds on the net: a total height of about 90cm would very well fit to my desk space, wheels could add spontaneous flexibility in my gear arrangements, the 19" part also should be as flexible as possible, a part (besides the 19" section) dedicated for storing cables would be a nice bonus. On these grounds, I decided for a two story solution: The upper part would be comprised of the already mentioned LACK table (7,99 Eur), the base would be a LACK side table on castors which I found in mint condition for almost half the price (15,- Euro) on classifieds.

Slight inconvenience with the LACK tables, but I guess that with the cheap price, is that the legs are mainly built from cardboard and hence are hollow except the top and bottom 5 cm. Since I wanted to fill my rack top to bottom and therefore the screws will need to be able to support some weight, screwing the modules directly into the table's legs consequently was not an option. However, I did not like that idea in the first place, since it also decreases any later possibilities to rearrange modules (at least I assum that the screw holes wear off over time). Instead, I opted for continuous rack rails which can be fastened in the solid sections of the table's legs, and which allow me to freely manoeuvre my gear around at a later time. Adam Hall had some in his portfolio (10,- Eur), that perfectly matched my needs, are used with standard M6 screws, and were quickly sawn to an appropriate length of 38 cm:

For optical reasons, I painted the rail's inner sides black, and then put all parts together:

A very flexible, 90,5 cm high, two compartment 19" rack for 30,- Eur, that might not be suitable to be carried from live act to live act, but does not need to hide in the living room.

Continue reading on how a central power supply with lights complemented the new rack.

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