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Desk? Rack? Can't it be both?

I added a 4U rack to my desk. It’s pretty easy to do.

If you aren’t relatively comfortable with a drill, I don’t recommend this as your first drill-centric project, but if you are, then it’s an easy way to make your desk a lot more useful, and potentially tidier.

I used:

1 X Startech 4U Vertical Rack (Comes in up to 6U).
6 X 10mm M6 Threaded Inserts
6 X 12mm M6 Screws
1 X Drill
1 X 3/8" Drill Bit
1 X Depth Stop (Optional/recommended)
1 X Metric Hex Key Set

? X Things that go in a rack
? X Square-hole rack hardware

I prefer scews/inserts when installing something like this onto a wood surface. You get a better grip into the wood and you can take the screws in and out as much as you want without degrading the grip that the thread has in the wood.

STEPS

  1. Make sure your desk is thick enough for the inserts. I have an Evodesk with a 3/4" bamboo table top. A cheap Ikea or equivalent table top might be made of a fiber board. Rack mount equipment can be heavy, so you definitely want to have something that is solid wood.

  1. Temporarily fix the vertical rack to the bottom of the desk, and trace the holes where the screws need to go. Don’t get sloppy here. It’s critical the holes are aligned perfectly.

  2. Set the depth stop of your drill bit to the length of the inserts, and drill holes for the inserts. Then screw the inserts in.

  1. Screw in the rack and put stuff in it.

DO AS I SAY NOT AS I DO:

  1. Take everything off the table and turn it upside down. I was lazy and did not do that. Now my holes aren’t perfectly aligned so it doesn’t screw in flush (see left side).

  2. The bamboo table top is not ideal. I would prefer a hardwood like oak or something. I’ll let you know if this falls out one day and breaks my foot. It feels solid, but I was not 100% happy with how the inserts grabbed the wood.

  3. I think M5 inserts/screws will give you enough grip while providing more leeway on hole alignment. The M6 screws are exactly the size of the mounting holes in the rack, so you really have no margin for error when marking/drilling the holes in the table.

  4. Find a metric drill bit that actually matches the inserts you’re using. 3/8" worked, but it was definitely an approximate fit. 3/8" will probably be too big for M5 inserts.

  5. Take this project on at your own risk. I am not responsible if you destroy your table/hands/small pets/etc…

Bonus: put a tiny bit of wood glue in the holes before screwing in the inserts.

HOW ABOUT YOU?

What rack mount things do you want attached to your desk? I’ve still got 1U open. Not sure what I’ll do with it yet.

12 Likes

Nice job! I’m too lazy, IKEA lack table for me, poor mans rack.

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I like it! Especially if you routed the cables in such a way you can pull the drawer out without tipping the whole table over onto your groin or something.
1U - Perhaps USB ports, headphone jacks, all that usefull stuff?

1 Like

I think I want to put a SFF workstation in there.

Nice setup have thought about doing something similar but then realize I have no need for a rack.

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Yeah, definitely not for everyone. I used to manage a rack that has now been migrated to a datacenter. The drawer and power distribution were left overs from that.