This post details some problems with construction, custom rack rail fabrication (welding), and constructing the frame under the mobile lack rack.
In the last part I listed a welder in the tools section. Now you may be wondering, what is this guy doing with a welder and Ikea furniture, I hope he has a fire extinguisher handy. I do take safety seriously and do keep a fire extinguisher nearby when welding.
The distance between the inside of the coffee table legs is 17.5 inches. The standard server rack has a distance of 17.75 inches between the vertical rails. The coffee table is just a little narrower than the standard server rack. The legs are hollow with a thin paper laminate covering a hardboard like material. This is enough to hold up lightweight gear and slightly heavier gear with extra hardware typically used for mounting heavy picture frames on drywall. I wouldn’t trust this construction to hold up a full sized 4U server. This is why the rack rails are used, to hold the weight and provide a more convenient method of mounting equipment.
The rack rails present another problem though. The rails need to be mounted to something and the distance between rails needs to be enough to allow for the server to slide between them.
If the rails are attached as labeled, it only leaves 16 inches between them. Turning the rails around and mounting them flush to the legs increases the distance between them to 17.25, but that is also to narrow and doesn’t leave room for equipment mounting screws. I could extend the base frame for the rails and build it around the coffee tables. Well if I did that then the coffee tables become pointless. I could scrap the whole thing and built it out of angle iron and flat steel, but the nearest metals wholesaler is at least an hour drive from me and what do I do with three Ikea coffee tables.
Eureka a Solution
The solution became apparent when I was deciding how to attach the coffee tables to each other. The table legs are designed to be weight bearing in one direction. If I could put the weight of the servers on top of the table legs, not the side it would hold up. I needed to make a bracket to hold the rails from the middle of where the two tables connect. Making that bracket and attaching it to the rails would solve this problem. Fortunately I also had a piece of 2 inch by 2 inch angle iron in my ‘scrap’ pile. What followed was a series of cuts and test fits that resulted in the following creation. Modified rack rails with 90 degree angle brackets welded in the middle for mounting purposes.
The bottom frame
This went as well as planed, follow the photos below.