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Stupid Question about using a rack ?>£$%
Old 15th October 2013
Gear Nut

Stupid Question about using a rack ?>£$%

Hi all,

A quick and possibly stupid question about using a rack for outboard gear -

I've just purchased a flight case with a rack strip on either side.

It's 4u and I want to install 3u and to leave one to keep them cool.

The one at the bottom of the rack seems secure. My question is about the spaces above.

Do the units just attach to the rack strips on either side and then support their own weight?

Or, is some sort of tray included to support the weight?

These things are pretty heavy. Will they bend/snap without additional support?

Sorry if the answer is obvious - I'm new to outboard gear.

Thank you
Old 15th October 2013
The faceplate is designed to support the weight. They do t need any tray.
Old 15th October 2013
Gear Nut

Wow. I'm surprised.

Good to know. Thank you

And do you just place one directly on top of the other?
Old 15th October 2013
Lives for gear
johnnyv's Avatar
That's not actually always true. You are talking regular mechanical engineering here.
Use common sense. Something that weighs 50 Lbs might bend the rails etc and especially if the rack gets a hit.

What I do is use blocks of high density foam to buffer the spaces and reduce shock if the rack is bumped or dropped. Just put them near the back corners. Cut them so they are nice and snug.

I always start at the bottom with the biggest, deepest unit if possible and build upwards.
Otherwise it's hard to read the back panel.

I'll stack units that are cool, most devices that use an external power supply are cool. Somtimes you have to pop the rubber feet off to squeeze those units together. Don't do that with a unit that needs cooling, The feet provide the space needed. Run the units and feel the top and bottom to decide if they fall under the "needs cooling" category. Look for vent holes.

Most rack rails should have optional spacing to allow for this, Use it and then the foam to fill any gaps. Don't put the foam over obvious hot spots on the units,or vents. If it has an internal power supply ( AC cord) the space near where the AC goes in will probably be where the power supply is.

Use real big headed screws or better yet add washers.
Old 16th October 2013
Gear Nut

Thank you. Really useful!

The starting with the largest at the bottom makes a lot of sense. I'll be doing that.

Can you give an example of the type of foam you use? I'll be sure to do this as well.

Thank you
Old 17th October 2013
Lives for gear
LoFi_By_Choice's Avatar

Originally Posted by johnnyv View Post

I always start at the bottom with the biggest, deepest unit if possible and build upwards.
Otherwise it's hard to read the back panel.
Not only that, but if you get into taller rack units, larger on top will make the whole thing prone to tipping over. I built a 13U mobile rack and would be screwed if my largest and heaviest were in the top spaces, especially since it sits on 3.5" wheels that don't always lock.
Old 17th October 2013
Lives for gear

While there are many aspects to consider, weight, cooling, INTERFERENCE BETWEEN UNITS, and a host of others you have to appreciate what you are going to do with it.
Putting 'foam blocks' in is not a particularly good idea as it will impede airflow. If you need supports, buy premade metal angle supports that are made for the job. If it is for a 'mobile' application, use rear mounting brackets as well so that front and rear are both supported. You may want to also consider shock mounting.
Cabling needs to be done neatly to keep mains and audio cables apart from each other. Always leave a vent at bottom and top, air must flow otherwise your gear will die prematurely.
Fit a mains distribution strip and use the SHORTEST length of cable commensurate with access so that units can be pulled out while powered.
Remember that not all 'studio' gear necessarily LIKES being racked and if they are only mounted by faceplates may get damaged by even relatively small amounts of 'rough handling'.
Matt S
Old 17th October 2013
Lives for gear
johnnyv's Avatar
My foam idea is for small racks like the OP mentioned, building a tall rack is another animal and your advice is excellent.

I'm talking 1" square chunks of Hi density foam and I said to not block any vents. It works. It will cushion shock. It's free. Yes I'm aware there are many other ways to support the rear. If done properly mine will last and serve just as well. One of my racks has efx gear from the 80's in it. I certainly would not do this with a power amp rack.
I start by putting them under the back corner edges of the unit that is on the bottom. This builds a rear cushion/ support and keeps the units from sagging.

Good advice about keeping cables tidy.
I have a Furman power conditioner at the top and I re did my AC cables so there is no extra unwanted length.
Old 7th November 2013
Here for the gear

4U tabletop rack

Would anyone know who the manufacturer of this 4U rack sitting on the table is from or something similar?

Thanks much.
Old 9th November 2013
If you're looking for a nice tabletop rack, take a look at the Hammond RCBS Light Duty Series. Available from Mouser or Digikey.
Old 9th November 2013
Good question

Yours is definitely a not a stupid question and one that we have all asked ourselves at one time or another.

Many equipment manuals contain notes about rack mounting, with guidance on ventilation and rear supporting if necessary. If you haven't done so already you could check them.

Also, it's very easy to make your own racks from 18mm MDF. You can design them to suit, get the MDF cut to size at a wood yard, and simply glue and screw them together. Very satisfying too!

Has anyone else made their own racks, any tips?
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