How To Build Server Rack

Building DIY Cheap Server Rack For Home

For testing and development, we have a few rack-mount servers. Let’s build a server rack at home. They are getting more common these days. Everything from storage servers to home theatre servers to home automation is finding its way into people’s homes, and a rack-mount enclosure makes it easier to organize all of those servers in one place.

We consider buying a rack to store them in every now and again, but even secondhand racks aren’t inexpensive. A new half-height open rack cabinet with minimal frills sells for a few hundred dollars. Enclosed racks may cost up to $1,000.

We developed and priced a 20U server rack out of curiosity to see what it would take to construct my own. Although 20U is more than most people would need for a home server rack, WE selected this height because it places the top in a comfortable standing desk posture. To get direct console access, connect a monitor, keyboard, and mouse to a KVM switch.

The price was reasonable. The cost of materials for a 20U enclosed server rack was slightly under $400. It cost about $100 for an open rack with casters. Much less expensive than purchasing a server enclosure. If anybody is interested, here’s what WE came up with.

The enclosed cabinet’s design is based on the open server rack, so if that’s all you want, you may use it as a reference to construct an open rack.

What You’ll Need


  • 2 Pairs of 20U EIA 19″ Rack Rails (can be found on eBay and on Amazon )
  • 5 8′ 2×4 studs
  • 4 6′ 1×4 boards that match plywood (poplar)
  • 1 4’x8′ sheet of 3/4″ plywood (birch)
  • 25′ of plywood edge banding
  • 4 8′ lengths of door stop moulding
  • 1 17′ package of D shaped weather strip
  • 2 Pairs Heavy-Duty 5 in. Swivel Casters
  • 1 roll of aluminum window screen

Hardware cloth

  • roll of filter foam
  • pairs of Blum Soft-Close 110 deg BLUMotion Clip Top Inset Hinges
  • L Handle Cam Locks
  • 2U Blank Rack Panels

Finishing materials (paint or stain/finish, wood filler, etc)

  • Wood Glue
  • Kreg pocket screws for 1-1/2″ and 3/4″ material
  • Tools
  • Drill
  • Circular saw and guide or table saw for cutting plywood
  • Miter box or power miter saw for making square cuts inboards
  • Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
  • Square
  • Pilot hole bits
  • Clamps
  • Tape measure
  • pencil
  • Finishing tools


These plans may be tailored to meet your specific requirements. Rather of creating a cut list and cut plans, I’ve written these instructions in such a manner that you should be able to construct the rack to your requirements by measuring and marking as you go. Prefinishing the wood before putting it all together can save you a lot of time.

Step 1: Attach Rack Rails to Side Supports

4 pieces of 2×4 to the precise height of your rack rails, measured and cut Drill pilot holes on the side of the stud and screw them in place as indicated.

On either side of the angle, holes will be drilled in the rails. The equipment will be placed on the side that has the variances. The stud on the side with the more conventional spacing is screwed in. With 1″ wood screws, space every 2-3″ or so. A typical 1U server weighs between 10 and 15 pounds. Although you are unlikely to load the whole rack with servers, it is still a good idea to secure the rails.

Step 2: Attach Horizontal Width Boards

The rails should be placed 19 1/8 inches apart, according to the specifications “dissimilar. If you’re utilising various kinds of rails, this may change. Installing a 2U blank to the top and bottom to obtain the precise space you need is a simple method to acquire the exact spacing you need.

Ensure that the two sides are square. It’s also a good idea to double-check that some of your rack mount gear fits, just in case the blanks are wrong. Once you’ve got everything squared away. Mark the top and bottom 2×4 pieces’ lengths. For 1-1/2 inches, cut to size and attach with wood glue and pocket hole screws “material as shown

You’ll need two of these rail frames. One is for the front, while the other is for the rear.

Step 4: Attach Boards For Rack Server Depth

Rack mounting depth (the distance between the front of the front rail and the rear of the back rail) is not standardized, and racks may range from 19″ to 30″. Different rack mounting depths are used by various companies.

  • Dell 28 7/8″
  • HP 29 1/8″
  • IBM 28 1/2″
  • Sun up to 32″ (if WE remember correctly)

You have the option of selecting a mounting depth that meets your requirements. Just make sure there’s enough room in the rear for any protruding wires or future growth. Calculate the required rack depth, subtract the width of two 2x4s (7″), then cut four lengths of 2×4 for the verticals after you’ve established the depth of your cabinet. As illustrated, secure with wood glue and pocket hole joints.

Check to see whether your box is square. If your servers have movable rack rails, you may connect them to the front and rear rails to assist align everything.

Step 5: Cut and Attach Additional Support Boards

Mark and cut extra 2×4 boards for added strength, then glue and screw them to the sides, top, and bottom as indicated. Considering on how heavily you want to load the rack, extra support, such as metal L brackets at the corners, may be necessary.

Step 6: Completed Open Rack

You may stop here if you don’t care about having an enclosed rack cabinet. All you have to do now is attach the casters to the bottom of the server rack structure you just constructed.


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