DIY rack - What to be aware of?

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Neil Joseph, Apr 3, 2003.

  1. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 1998
    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    Well, after finishing my DIY screen project, I am just about ready to move onto my DIY rack. I have decided to build a double-wide rack with a total of 3 shelves (for 2 levels of a/v components and the centre speaker on the top shelf). The unit must be black to match my other components so right now, I am thinking of using some kind of black veneer to apply to the shelves.

    Is 1/2" MDF good enough? The 3/4" stuff is very heavy. What size of threaded rod works the best, I want to be able to use the ends of the rod to create the 6 feet (legs) for the unit. What else should I watch out for.

    Thanks
     
  2. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    0
    well l just finished my flexy rack yesterday a simple 2 foot wide by 20 inches deep with 4 5/8 rods, but no neoprean washers.

    I have to say the most crucial point that you should be aware of is making the holes perfectly perpendicular. I was off a little on some of my holes so it was a little bit of a chalange to slide the rods through.


    When me and my dad build a semi HT in our basement this summer we are going to make a huge flexy rack to support every thing it will be sweet as hell.

    [​IMG]

    it is rock solid with only 2 real shelves, i sat on it and gave it a good earthquake test. i now know that it can hold well over 240 pounds and it didn't show anysides of weakness. i am guessing it could take well over 300 maybe even 400 if i had anything that heavy to put on it
     
  3. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wouldn't put anything too terribly heavy on 1/2" MDF, but you'll probably be fine if the weight of the heavy objects is spread out over a large area of the shelf it's sitting on, or is concentrated on points near the threaded rods.

    Here's mine...
    [​IMG]

    My A/V receiver is a heavy beast of a thing, but it sits on 4 "feet" that are pretty close to the support of the threaded rods. If I had a 50 pound marble bust of beethoven with a 6" diameter round base, I would NOT feel comfortable putting it in the center of one of my panels (or a 1/2" MDF panel).

    EDIT: oh, and as for the diameter of the rod, I'd say it depends on the height of your rack. If it's going to be 3-feet tall or less, I'd go with 3/8" rod. If it's going to be taller than that, I'd go with 1/2" rod (especially if heavy items will be placed near the top).
     
  4. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 1998
    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    Hmmm, I guess I had better consider that 3/4" MDF since I am going with a double-wide rack and 1/2" threaded rod as well. Can you say heavy?

    I will be using PVC tube to cover the rods, much like the commercial racks do. What about making it black (veneer) or even painting?
     
  5. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0
    My experience with painting in the realm of DIY audio:
    - Spraypainted white eggshell finish on sonosub endcaps: major pain in the butt.
    - Painted (with a brush!) flat black oil-based enamel on the bottoms of the backs of my DIY tower speakers: major pain in the butt.


    I haven't done any veneering, so I can't really comment on that other than to say that folks I know who do a lot of DIY (Hank Frankenberg in particular) seem to prefer veneer to paint.

    Here's one concern: surface durability. If you're going to be moving things around on the surface a lot, a painted surface might scratch too easily. No idea how veneer holds up. Laminate (like formica) would be a very durable surface, and is supposed to be a bit easier to apply than veneer. You'll need a router and a flush-trim bit.

    I used pine panels with the intention of staining them black one day. I experimented on some scrap wood the other night by thinning some of that pain-in-the-butt flat black oil based enamel with some paint thinner and just wiping it on. The result was a suprisingly nice dark dark dark gray finish that allowed the wood grain to show through and be pretty.

    Plus, I imagine my pine planks are at least as strong as 3/4" MDF.
     
  6. Bob Friend

    Bob Friend Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
    I used 3/4" birch plywood and veneered the edges for my TV stand. My TV weighs 170lbs and I was able to get by without a center support. Plywood weighs a lot less than MDF too.

    Picture 1


    Picture 2
     
  7. Troy R

    Troy R Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Jeff Meininger,

    What kind of wood is that? Looks like butcher blocks... I realy like the looks of it!
     
  8. Ditto on the above comments. carefull on the holes. no less than 3/4". 3/4" BB will be stronger, lighter, more expensive, and harder to finish (unless you plan on staining/topcoat the BB itself and have sharp tools to prevent burning/chipout).

    here is my double rack..not a close up, but it should give you an idea:
    http://members.aol.com/auddz/systemnew.jpg
    you can also get a peak of it here:
    http://members.tripod.com/beyond_gomer/12-2.jpg

    Just Fender wachers, 5/8 rods and nuts.
    For the center supports, I have through holes. The rods are cut so that they do not penetrate the top surface. I have the underside bolts and washers "about" where they should be. After I put the TV there, I tightened/loosened them till the top shelf was perfectly flat.
     
  9. Troy R

    Troy R Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    A couple more questions for everyone.

    Is it better to use 3 or 4 threaded rods? TNT-audio uses 3. Three rods would obviously be easier to level the shelves...

    Which would be stonger, 3 or 4?

    Would putting two rods in the front and one in the back be ok?
     
  10. Allen Ross

    Allen Ross Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2002
    Messages:
    819
    Likes Received:
    0
    well more supports will always be stronger so 4 will be better.

    but if you wanted i think you could get away with 3 but doing it like TNT because there is more support with haveing the single rod on the shortest side
     
  11. Carl Johnson

    Carl Johnson Cinematographer
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 6, 1999
    Messages:
    2,259
    Likes Received:
    25
    Real Name:
    Carl III

    This is true but that's never been a problem with the three racks that I've built. Just stack the boards together and drill straight thru with a single shot, that way they can't help but to be lined up.

    It's best to err on the side of having boards and rods that are too thick rather than too thin. I've built three racks, two with 3/4 inch boards and rods and those are tanks, they easily support hundreds of pounds. I don't remember the exact measurements on the third rack but those materials were considerably thinner, maybe 1/2 inch. The 1/2 inch easily supports computer equipment but I wouldn't trust it with anything heavier than that.

    Four rods are better than three both for strength and with four it's easier to line up the equipment. A receiver with an extra deep rear end can stick out of the back of the unit with four rods but with three you can't get away with that. Don't worry about leveling, even with my six rod monster home theater rack it can be done in a manner of seconds.
     
  12. Chris Lanni

    Chris Lanni Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2002
    Messages:
    134
    Likes Received:
    0
    Real Name:
    Christopher
  13. Neil Joseph

    Neil Joseph Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 1998
    Messages:
    8,332
    Likes Received:
    1
    Real Name:
    Neil Joseph
    I am going to use a 6-rod assembly (1 on each corner plus 2 in the middle) but If I can find the right kind of pine (3/4") I might consider that and try stain/painting it black. It should soak up the paint a little better than MDF and hopefully be more scratch resistant as a result (not being able to see the scratches).
     
  14. Jeff Meininger

    Jeff Meininger Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2002
    Messages:
    481
    Likes Received:
    0
    I went to Home Depot and Lowes. Home Depot had better prices on the threaded rods and hardware, but they didn't have the nice pine panels I was looking for. I went to Lowes and I found them in the shelving section.

    Troy R: it's "pine project panels" that do indeed look like butcher blocks. I found them in this style ("laminated") and also just plain one-piece pine planks. The price was the same, but I liked the look of these better. Plus, I figured they'd hide any irregularities introduced by my unskilled staining technique.
     
  15. Ronnie Ferrell

    Ronnie Ferrell Second Unit

    Joined:
    Jul 16, 2002
    Messages:
    355
    Likes Received:
    0
     
  16. Troy R

    Troy R Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2003
    Messages:
    197
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys!

    And the all important question: How much do the pine project planks cost?
     
  17. Anthony_Fros

    Anthony_Fros Agent

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2003
    Messages:
    37
    Likes Received:
    0
    I found that if you're going to paint, it's best to paint afterwards. You're going to tighten bolts, adjust shelves, etc...and you're going to take most of the paint off your threaded rods, and have to re-paint anyways.
    Also, if you're drilling holes for your MDF and using a hand drill, drill two at a time. Clamp and drill through the first, making a slight pilot hole and indentation into the second. Then just remove the first and drill through the second.

    I used the 10 shelf rack as my template, here it is:

    http://xdeathstickx.tripod.com/main.html
     
  18. MarcVH

    MarcVH Second Unit

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2001
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    0
    For thickness, you may find a table of MDF strength characteristics to be helpful. I'd say that when you're talking about heavy things like amplifiers, you'd probably wan to go with thicker material.
     
  19. Jon Wl

    Jon Wl Auditioning

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2003
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0
    I have a couple of questions now. I am in the planning process of my first flexy and here is what I have decided thus far.

    It is going to be a 6 shelf set-up with a height of about 48". 4 supports, one in each corner. I was thinking like 20w x 24d shelves, possibly 24x24. I was at Lowes looking for MDF and saw sheets of 3/4" oak veneered plywood. I was considering using the plywood and staining to match the woodwork in my house.

    The questions I have are:
    1. Threaded rod - Lowes had shiny 3/4 rod, which seems overkill plus it is almost $20/bar. I went to www.mcmaster.com and there are like 20 different kinds of 5/8 rod. Now the black is nice, but still expensive. What is the preferred type to order that is shiny silver, but not too expensive.

    2. If I get iron-on veneer banding, how do I match the edges of the shelf where the band meets the factory veneer. Do I but 3/4" veneer, or something larger and sand/file the extra banding off. Also, do I wrap the corners and do each shelf with 1 piece of veneer, or 4 seperate lengths?
     
  20. Bob Friend

    Bob Friend Stunt Coordinator

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2002
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    0
     

Share This Page