DIY AV rack

Posted by: mapatton

DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 09:31 AM

Hello everyone. Curious has anyone here made their own AV rack? I am hoping to get my AV project going soon and this is one area I have not come up with a solution for.

I am not keen on the threaded rod type racks. I would prefer wood. For the back I am thinking 3 separate and stagged back panels to aid in hiding wiring.

If you made your own rack, tell us about it and include pics!
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 11:56 AM

I am curious too. Those "Flexi-Racks" while somewhat easy to build and have the potential to look ok, actually aren't that cheap if done right.
Posted by: Emzdogz

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 12:23 PM

I'm thinking of welding something simple out of mild steel angle iron and 3/16 ths by 1 in strap (or smaller for bracing, if needed). Will posts pics if I do it.
Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 12:45 PM

I really envy people who have such skill that they can use "simple" and "welding" in the same sentence.

I'm interested in this topic, too. More woodworking porn.
Posted by: Murph

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 12:52 PM

A sturdy DIY rack can indeed be a surprise in cost once you get rolling at it.

If you don't need yours mobile, here is a bit of a MacGuiver job I came up with at my cousin's spot who wanted to hide his AV gear in a closet.

Instead of a $800 to $1000 metal rack, we ordered something similar to this 7' relay rack for less than 100 bucks at the time.

Because it's the front of a rack only, we found about $50 worth of brackets, bolts etc. at Home Depot that screwed into the front holes, even though that is not what they are really intended for.

For rear support, we cut 1"x1"x19" lengths of my scrap wood (free) and mounted them horizontally on the rear closet wall to match the height of the front brackets.

This gave us both front and rear supports to lay down some left over & some purchased, plywood cut into shelving to sit the gear on. We used more small bolts and screws to secure it all in place so the shelving did not move and, in turn, kept the front panel from tipping over.

I also (and this could be done a lot rougher) made a template for my router and made a long rounded and tapered cutout section in the back of each shelf so that cables could be run up and down the complete length of the cabinet. Finally I used my drill press to make a bunch more 3/4" holes in the shelving for added airflow.

We cut out sections on the top and bottom of his closet door and rigged up 4 inwward facing PC fans ($2.50 each at Princess Auto) at the bottom of the door and 4 outward facing ones at the top of the door. Just screwed them into the back of the door. We used an old PC power supply from my junk pile of PC parts to run them. Some splicing and plug robbing from other old parts was required. It's a cool basement and probably din't even need this, but we wanted to prove our beer inspired cooling concept.

I also cut and routed some nice trim to frame up where we cut holes in the door so it didn't look like such a hack job. He painted them to match the door.

Probably cost him about $250 in total (not counting his IR blaster) and cost me some old scrap wood that I normally save for bonfire season. We had lots of fun though and it's still working out nicely for him.

The only hack piece left....
He promised me he would move a power outlet (or two) into his closet to run everything but it's been a few years now and he still has 2 extension cords jammed under the door.
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 01:15 PM

Mine cost me $7 at a garage sale. Some sturdy stackable plastic shelving.
Posted by: mapatton

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 01:34 PM

Well this rack is going to be in a room, and I desire to look similar to other pieces of furniture. Here is a crappy web pic of the coffee table.

My thought is to get some wood and cut out a number of shelves, then to use craft legs like these to separate the shelves.

Then stain to match the color.

For the back, it is hard to explain, but picture 2 L shaped pieces of wood that bracket each rear corner. I envision each being about 4" by 4". Then for the actual back, another piece of wood that spans the back sections of the L.
Posted by: Bayne

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 02:20 PM

You can see pictures of the floor-to-ceiling cabinet my wife and I built in the gallery section under: Bayne's Upgraded Home Theater.

We used oak-faced laminate and solid oak trim. It has movable shelves, and an opening in the rear to access all the cables. We left the shelves several inches shorter than the full depth of the cabinet so the cables and warm air could travel up to the ceiling.

Bottom line, spend some serious time designing your unit and thinking about cable management and air flow if it's enclosed. Take your time and don't skimp on the right tools for the job. Fortunatley places like Home Deport rent them for a decent price. Good luck, and enjoy!
Posted by: Socketman

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 03:31 PM

Im not sure if you do woodwork , but I built a mdf stand in a weekend with a router and skill saw then did a base/clear paint job. The shelves are adjustable.

Posted by: tomtuttle

Re: DIY AV rack - 07/18/13 03:41 PM

That's really nice! Clever!
Posted by: Haoleb

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 12:00 AM

I know you said you are not really looking for a "flexy" rack but they are really quite easy to build and of course, very flexible. Here are a couple photo's of a rack I built for a client's custom install a couple months ago. The shelves are 3/4 prefinished plywood with some mahogany I wrapped the edges with which matches the rest of the wood in the house.

The rods are 3/4" that were spray painted. I did have to go back once it was assembled and touch up the paint. To avoid overspray I sucked up all the overspray with a shop vac placed right on the other side of what I was spraying which worked very well. I also added some pieces on the back to the shelves to facilitate fastening all of the cables down with ties which you can kind of make out in the photos.

Posted by: brwsaw

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 12:06 AM

I haven't seen cabling that neat since I worked on a wind farm.
Posted by: brwsaw

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 12:09 AM

What was on the top shelf?
Posted by: Haoleb

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 12:41 AM

Originally Posted By: brwsaw
What was on the top shelf?

The top shelf is a 20a tripplite surge suppressor. As far as the wiring goes it is very hard to make exposed wiring look neat. I learned how to make stuff look really nice though building industrial control panels. That is until the electrician gets in there and makes a rats nest out of it. Some of the panels on this page I will link to I also built. When I worked for this company it was me and one other guy in the shop who also did very nice work and taught me quite a few tricks.
Posted by: nickbuol

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 10:16 AM

What was the cost for the wood, rods, washers, nuts?
Posted by: CatBrat

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 01:04 PM

Wow. Fancy! You don't want to see a picture of mine. That's for sure.
Posted by: pmbuko

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 01:13 PM

Originally Posted By: CatBrat
You don't want to see a picture of mine.

Truer words have never been spoken.
Posted by: Haoleb

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/05/13 10:52 PM

The plywood is something like 60 or 80 dollars a sheet... I used one sheet..I am in Hawaii right now and of course you cant buy a stick of gum without getting ripped off here. SO I would expect cheaper anywhere else.

Rods I think were $20 each for 6 footers and I think the other hardware was 30 or 40 dollars at home depot. The mahogany I had as extra trim for windows and doors that I cut up.

So in the end somewhere on the order of $200 but.. alot cheaper than the 700-1000$ prebuilt racks I was looking at, Which I would have gone with but I could not find one the correct dimension to fit in this closet.
Posted by: mapatton

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/15/13 10:54 AM

Well I am hoping that in 2 weeks I can start to apply some serious thought to this.
Posted by: ArthurC

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/15/13 03:02 PM

You've inspired me to clean up my backside as well. Hmm, that didn't come out right.

Posted by: pmbuko

Re: DIY AV rack - 08/15/13 04:23 PM

Originally Posted By: ArthurC
Hmm, that didn't come out right.

That's the usual cause of needing to clean up one's backside.