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Avoiding Rack Rash...
Old 30th June 2005
  #1
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Avoiding Rack Rash...

I'm adding a second Rosetta 800 to my rig, and soon a Big Ben. I want these units to retain as much resale value as possible. I've got nylon washers to go under the screw and behind the faceplate, and I figure I'm going to leave a little space between the units.

Anything else you guys do to minimize the effects of rack-mounting?

I'd rather not have to leave spaces between units, in case there's another way.

I don't worry as much about mic preamps, compressors and EQ's since I rarely, if ever, sell any of this stuff. The devices that are based on 'of the minute' technology get turned over much more quickly in my world.

Thanks!

Max
Old 30th June 2005
  #2
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After using nylon washers, the best thing I can think of is not moving things in and out of the rack. Other than that I don't see how you would experience any 'rash' at all without the sliding / scraping that can occur.

War
Old 30th June 2005
  #3
Gear Addict
 

avoiding rack rash

Try talcum powder...works or me.
Old 30th June 2005
  #4
Dor
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I don't think resale value is effected by minor rack rash. don't mount it if you don't want rash.
Old 30th June 2005
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucegel
Try talcum powder...works or me.
i wouldn't suggest the talc... seems like even a minor dusting of components will lead to heat build-up. talc has a tendency to get everywhere.

--jon
Old 30th June 2005
  #6
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I think brucegel was talking about a different kind of rash...
Old 30th June 2005
  #7
C/G
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If you can access the rack from the back try putting a piece of thin cardboard on top of the piece of gear that the Rosetta will be above. You can slide it in and remove the cardboard once the Rosetta is secured in place. I realize in this day of ebay it is important to try to keep things looking fresh in case you ever want to sell items at a future date.
Old 30th June 2005
  #8
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Max:

Nylon washers will protect the rack holes well. There's a couple other things I do to keep my rack units looking good.

Before you rack it, check the units that will be above and below it in the rack. If they have any exposed screws, cover those screws with electricians tape. This will prevent scratches while shoving your gear in and out of the rack. Do this even if you have space between them. I always appreciate manufacturers that design their gear to have good "rack manners". This includes having smooth tops and bottoms with no protruding screws.

Another trick I do is to put a strip of electricians tape along the top front edge of any unit where I am installing/removing a unit *above* it. A common cause of damage is scraping the top leading edge of a faceplate, taking little chips out. The strip of tape eliminates the possibility of that damage and can easily be removed once the units are secured in place.

Sometimes you'll find that a unit barely fits in its 1 rack space, and that scraping will surely occur if you force it in. In those cases I do all of the above plus I'll loosen the rack screws on the units above and below the one I'm installing. This gives it a little extra room to be moved into place.

Finally, I use a Makita on the rack screws, not a hand held screw driver. Even though the Makita is heavier and would seem to be a more clumsy tool, I've found I have less mishaps with it than with a regular phillips screwdriver. I just hate those little dings you get when the screwdriver slips, and the Makita seems to create less of those situations.

Obviously, I have a thing about my gear looking good!

And as far as resale value, I have to say that a clean minty unit does indeed have greater resale value. It makes the gear look like the owner took care of it (and cared about it) and therefore it will be a better buy and will last longer. As far as eBay, I don't even bid on gear that is dinged up or has serious rack rash or other major cosmetic problems. That's a sign to me that owner didn't take care of their gear. So I believe the cosmetic condition does indeed have a major effect on the resale value in my opinion (I say that as both a buyer and seller of used gear).
Old 30th June 2005
  #9
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I couldn't agree with you more on the resale value; I'll buy gear with dings if it'll save me a substantial amount, but usually it doesn't.

On the flip-side, I can vouch for the higher resale value from pristine gear thing. A minty piece, along with a detailed description and a good amount of clear, close-up photos will usually push bidders over the 'should I go another bid-increment?' bump. Really helps on stuff like converters where the technology is on a steeper curve.

I think it's cool that you've put a good deal of thought into racking your gear!

thanks!

max
Old 30th June 2005
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
I think brucegel was talking about a different kind of rash...
aww crap! that's what i get for reading gearslutz too late at night. it flew right over my head. sorry 'bout that.

--jon
Old 30th June 2005
  #11
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Hey, Max...

This is only my second post here at Gearslutz. Please bear with me...!

Funny you should ask this question. I recently got my hands on a UA 2108 and racked it just a few days ago. Much like everyone has already suggested, I also use the "nylon washers to go under the screw and behind the faceplate" trick -- they're easy enough to use & easy enough to get a hold of.

Another suggestion: I currently use heat shrink tubing/hose (or just "heat shrink" for short) inside of the mounting holes. (Some of my automotive repair buddies suggested this to me, as they use this stuff often when arranging wires & whatnot.) This might be a bit over-the-top, and it can be tricky and/or time-consuming to put to practice; but it seems as if it does add some level of care.

Thanks...
Old 30th June 2005
  #12
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HumFrees are good for that, too. They have the washer and the in-hole tube already built into one piece.

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/srs7/.../base_id/36444
Old 30th June 2005
  #13
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Cool, Humfrees... I'll have to check 'em out. Many thanks for the suggestion...
Old 30th June 2005
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brucegel
Try talcum powder...works or me.
I'm wondering how a guy named bruce, apparently from personal experience, knows about the effectiveness of talcum on rack rash. Unless bruce is some kind of shiela perhaps...

(NTTATWWT) heh
Old 30th June 2005
  #15
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Those humfrees are interesting but they sure wreck the look of a rack. Not very esthetically pleasing if I may say so myself. I think shoulder washers do pretty much the same thing as far as isolating from the screws. But the humfrees would seem to do better at preventing contact of the faceplate with the sides of the rack (assuming a metal rack, mine aren't).
Old 1st July 2005
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mikernicky
Hey, Max...

This is only my second post here at Gearslutz. Please bear with me...!

Funny you should ask this question. I recently got my hands on a UA 2108 and racked it just a few days ago. Much like everyone has already suggested, I also use the "nylon washers to go under the screw and behind the faceplate" trick -- they're easy enough to use & easy enough to get a hold of.

Another suggestion: I currently use heat shrink tubing/hose (or just "heat shrink" for short) inside of the mounting holes. (Some of my automotive repair buddies suggested this to me, as they use this stuff often when arranging wires & whatnot.) This might be a bit over-the-top, and it can be tricky and/or time-consuming to put to practice; but it seems as if it does add some level of care.

Thanks...
mikernicky:

A hearty GS welcome to ya!

I'm trying to picture what you mean. I have tons of heat shrink tubing around here.

Do you mean in the screw holes?

And the Humfrees, I can live with the look; Kinda cool in that Volvo/Saab/safety as an aesthetic thing.

If they decrease the chances of hum, better even.

I thought this might be a ridiculous idea for a thread; maybe expose me as a super a*al retentive person or something. I'm really glad to know it's not just me.

I'm saving all the above info.
Old 1st July 2005
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
A hearty GS welcome to ya!
Why, thank you very much!


Quote:
Originally Posted by max cooper
I'm trying to picture what you mean. I have tons of heat shrink tubing around here.

Do you mean in the screw holes?
Yes, that's correct. A bit overboard, I suppose... :-)

One of the somewhat-challenging things I've encountered when using the heat shrink has been determining how large/small the heat shrink should ultimately be – seeing that these holes vary in shape/diameter from one unit to the next. I usually try to start off with 2 different diameters of the heat shrink. That way, I might be able to get away without having to break out the heat gun too much.

Probably the most tricky thing has been actually racking the unit when trying to utilize both the nylon washers and the heat shrink. Lately, I've run into the least trouble when I first have the heat shrink in the holes; place the first nylon washer on the rack screw (flush to the screw head); hold the second washer in place on the rear of the face plate; then place the screw through both the hole w/shrink and the rear washer. So, I end up with the screws already threaded through the unit with the washers and shrink in place. I then "walk" the screws into the rack – usually going back & forth between the left & right sides: A couple of turns to the bottom screw, then a couple of turns to the top (all the while holding the rear washer flush against the face plate until it begins to make contact with the rack rail). With this method, I've found that both the washers and shrink stay in place quite well.

Many thanks for the interest...
Old 1st July 2005
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
But the humfrees would seem to do better at preventing contact of the faceplate with the sides of the rack (assuming a metal rack, mine aren't).
Yes, perhaps they could look better, but I don't think they're all that bad. But in addition to protecting from the rack sides, they also protect from the unit above, the unit below, and from touching the rack rail. Even if your rack is made of wood, most still have metal rails.

And no, I don't have anything to do with the company. But I do own a couple hundred of 'em. heh
Old 1st July 2005
  #19
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Okay, I've got another one for you guys, and I can't believe I didn't remember it before now. I used to use nylon rack screws to mount my gear. Made it a bit easier to isolate the gear from the rack rails, as I just needed one washer under the faceplate.

I went away from them for purely cosmetic reasons, as the nylon rack screws I was using were white, and as I remember I couldn't find black. I should do another search now and see if someone makes black nylon rack screws. My whole studio had white rack screws! At first I thought it looked cool, then I eventually thought it looked incredibly stupid. So I went back to regular rack screws and shoulder washers.

I do place a premium on looks, maybe too much, but after spending all this money on gear I want it to "show off" well (and sound good too). I do have producer/director types in here and I want the place to look as impressive as possible.

And Max, no it is not just you! This is a great subject for a thread and I also am going to save it for future reference.
Old 1st July 2005
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
I should do another search now and see if someone makes black nylon rack screws.
I got a bag of 100 screws w/ washers here from Redco ... they have black nylon washers.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2leod
I got a bag of 100 screws w/ washers here from Redco ... they have black nylon washers.
Are the screws nylon, or just the washers?

Also, do you guys have these 'rollbars' on your racks? I found these things at a local electronics store. They mount on the front of the rack (between the head of the screw and the first washer.) I used 'em on my live rack, which saved my gear from getting bashed a few times. Now I have 'em on a couple of the expensive things. I'll try to post a photo later. Kind of like a catcher's mask.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #22
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Just the washers. Nylon screws with nylon washers... you may be onto something there for the audiophile market! thumbsup
Old 2nd July 2005
  #23
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Max, do you have a link to those "rollbars"? I could really use something like that right now, actually.

The nylon screws did help isolate the gear and cut down on audio artifacts, I remember that. But back then I had more of a problem with hum than now. I use a balanced power unit now, and have generally better quality gear and cabling. But I also believe that the shoulder washers do pretty much the same job of isolating gear, because they lift the rack face off the screw, if even by a tiny amount.

However, black nylon rack screws is something I would still be interested in. Anybody got a lead on those?
Old 2nd July 2005
  #24
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I haven't seen any black nylon screws, but even if you isolate the gear from the the rack (say by using washers on both sides of the faceplate, or using a nylon screw with a washer between the faceplate and rack) each unit potentially makes contact with its neighbor, making a possible ground path unless you leave space between each component. You could get those screws from Redco and sacrifice half of them to get washers top and bottom or McMaster-Carr, an industrial supply store, has these black nylon shoulder washers . I just use the screw washers to keep the screws from chewing into the front of the faceplate and try to keep the AC power as clean as practically possible.

(edit) The link just tosses up the search page... enter 3028 in the find products bar upper left and it will take you to that page - the #10 size is what you need. BTW they also have black nylon screws on page 2890.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #25
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Doug, thanks for those links. Wish they had phillips head black nylon, that's the hard one to find (if it even exists). They have phillips head off-white nylon, but only the slotted styles of black nylon. This is actually the first time I've seen phillips in any kind of nylon, so I guess that's progress! The trouble with slotted head rack screws is that I've found it leads to a *lot* of dings. The screwdriver tends to slip out of the slot very easily and nick the front panel of the rack gear. I've bookmarked McMasters though, great store!
Old 2nd July 2005
  #26
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No worries... good luck on the search!
Old 2nd July 2005
  #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Albert
The trouble with slotted head rack screws is that I've found it leads to a *lot* of dings. The screwdriver tends to slip out of the slot very easily and nick the front panel of the rack gear. I've bookmarked McMasters though, great store!
So true. It'd be kind of trick if you could get 'Torx' rack screws, though.
Old 2nd July 2005
  #28
I use nylon washers with "nubs" on the inside diameter that isolate the screw from any metalwork, like the insides of a rack hole. This gives complete metal rack isolation while protecting the piece from scratches. Very simple and they look like any other install.

Jim Williams
Audio Upgrades
Old 21st July 2005
  #29
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A bump to post a photo of the 'roll bars' I use on my rack when I take it out for live use. I protect the gear faceplate with a piece of black shrinktube on the end of the bar.
Attached Thumbnails
Avoiding Rack Rash...-shrinkydink.jpg  
Old 15th October 2012
  #30
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I just bought some Humfrees which should work fine on my smaller/lighter gear, but I may have to use the shoulder washers for the bigger pieces with thicker ears. I was thinking of getting the Middle Atlantic shoulder washers (Middle Atlantic Products - Hardware) and a nylon screw insulator to make sure the screw doesn't make contact with the rack. Would a screw insulator work with the shoulder washers?

Another thing I'll probably do is line the rack rails with an adhesive rubber foam strip to protect the backside.
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