Assembling a rack system is so much more than just slapping some parts together! Whether you're building one for your office or home theater, CableOrganizer.com would like to let you in on some helpful steps to take before you start. A little planning can go a long way, so be sure to cover all the bases … if you do, your rack installation project is sure to go off without a hitch!
Experience Level: Intermediate
Budget Estimate: Excluding home theater or network electronic components and devices, the hardware and supplies listed for this project fall into the price range of $600-$4,500.
Before you start, take an inventory of your equipment. Don't focus only on the equipment that you're rack mounting right now. Take into consideration any components that you may decide to add in the future, and make space allowances for them.
Be well supplied. Save as much installation time as possible by being over-prepared with small-but-essential supplies like rack screws, washers, and cage nuts. Thinking of little things like this beforehand will keep you from having to bring your project to a halt until you can restock.
Map things out in advance. Drawing a diagram of your rack system and the components to be mounted in it will help you decide on the best configuration for your network or home theater equipment within the rack space.
Don't be afraid to consult a professional. If you're inexperienced at installing electronics into custom enclosures, get advice from a carpenter, a contractor, or an electrician. Asking questions now can prevent you from making expensive mistakes in the future!
Make sure that you have the right tools on hand. Your project will be much easier to complete if you collect all the tools that you'll need ahead of time. While there is a chance that you'll discover that your particular application calls for additional supplies, a good base of tools to start with should include a tape measure, a pencil, a hammer, a flashlight, both Phillips and flat-head screwdrivers, and a level.
Measure first. Please, for the love of rack mounting, use the tape measure we suggested earlier and make sure that you're allowing enough room for your equipment … before you bolt in all of the shelves! Take this precaution, and the hair that you won't have to rip out in frustration will thank you for it.
Get a friend involved in the project. Having another person around to help you with heavy lifting and other tricky tasks is always a good idea. Not only will you be in good company, you'll also be preventing that valuable rack-mounted equipment -- and yourself -- from being damaged!
Get a grip … on your electronic equipment, that is. To keep your network or home theater components in place once they're housed in a rack, think about securing them to the shelves with some Velcro® acrylic-based adhesive hook and loop tape. This way, they can be moved … but only when you say so.
Keep your cool. Thermal management is not something to be taken lightly, especially if your equipment will be running in a tight space. Networking and home theater components can generate a lot of heat, and it's important for your equipment to continuously be kept be kept cool by rack-mount fans, vented enclosure panels or ventilation units. Check out our full line of thermal management solutions at CableOrganizer.com.
Give yourself some space, of the storage variety. If you find yourself with extra rack space on your hands, consider installing a rack-mount drawer, like the ones available from Middle Atlantic. Drawers can be a perfect close-at-hand storage solution for CDs, DVDs and spare hardware.