3DPrinting Custom DIY Embedded Systems Rack SolidWorks

Embedded Systems Rack

I’m a system/operations guy and I’ve been in and out of data centers since 2010. During all of that time, I’ve become accustom to having a file server, dns server, tftp for phones, etc etc etc all running and even having open source firewalls in my house. My type of people will understand the struggle šŸ™‚

When I lived in Wisconsin, space was cheap and easy to come by. At one point I had 2 racks of test equipment and servers that did things for my apartment. When I moved to Boston, space became a premium. I could no longer have racks of equipment anymore. I went from 96uā€™s of space to this Box.

I had sold or gotten rid of most of the things I had. I gave a lot of my servers away to friends/ family and local makers. Everything in that box is just what I had at the time.

I played around with a lot of different ideas before I came up with the Embedded Systems Rack.

  1. Just running everything on my tower that runs windows and dual booting with Linux. This sucked because I used windows just for Video games and when I was gaming my other services were broken.
  2. Just running in Windows. Ew. dear God no.
  3. Running several different Raspberry Pis, Beagle-bone Black’s, Micro ATX boards, and Banana pi’s

Option 3 worked out well and with my access to a 3D printer I just printed cases for everything. A lot of cases..

It was nice but cable management was a nightmare. I would unplug the wrong device sometimes. It was just sickening and I needed a different solution.

I started then to stack devices and run the same power source to all of them. This worked better. However it did still have its flaws. If you had to replace the bottom device you had to take the whole stack down.

I started to think of my systems work and how rack mounting was the best option. It needed :

  1. Centralized power
  2. Access from the front
  3. A place to store add-ons
  4. Easy to remove/replace/add devices

I checked out a few places

None of them had what I wanted so I started to design my own.

The printable files can be found below.

Rack 1

Rack 2

Rack 3

Rack 4

This was a learning experience for me and I did a lot of things wrong that ultimately ended up changing. In the end, I had 7 different versions of the Embedded Systems Rack for the Raspberry Pi 2/3.

These where different versions I created until I came up with the final, which is down below.

Final Product

  1. Rack mount to standard 1u
  2. Front facing power
  3. Heat set screws, easy for attaching devices
  4. Room to added add-ons for GPIO headers.
  5. Super easy to remove and work with.
  6. Very little support needed when printing.
  7. A place for nuts on the bottom if case you don’t have access to heat set screws.
  8. A section in the front to add a label of what the device is.
  9. Places at attach Velcro and tie wraps for add-ons.

Hardware

  1. DC-099 Female 5.5 x 2.5mm Panel Mounting DC

Example of what It will look like when mounted.

 

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