My own experience

After several hesitations, I quickly understood that LackRacks were the solution to cleanly store my oversized servers. It was not just because LackRacks are dirt cheap (it definitely was), but because this was quite an experience. Sometimes, when you want to be a real homelab`er, you need to get your hands dirty, buy too much crap you’ll never use again (like those bolts you secretly keep knowing that you will forget them and buy new ones…), take a hammer, slam your toes and visit the ER.

So the first thing you need to do is to buy those Lack tables… and you have to choose between the « side table » and « coffee table ».

So I bought two coffee tables because I wanted to have enough depth for full-sized servers. If you only have short devices (like, switches and networking stuff), just buy a hefty amount of side tables, stack them, build a flat and watch your 9th floor ubiquity router pee on its 2nd floor HP neighbour. Or just buy one, it’s okay if you’re broke.

I read here and there that it’s better to improve the hollow legs of those tables because they are too weak to support everything. To make it simple, they are full (chipboard) at the bottom (on several centimetres), in the middle (same) and at the top… but the rest of that part is simply empty. « Add some wood in those », they said. A piece of advice I kindly ignored because I’m a dumb fuck sometimes.

Let's begin...

So I went to IKEA. And I bought two tables. And then I went to your average local DIY store and bought some railings and wheels.

  • The railings had two purposes: (1) holding each pair of legs together (so that both tables would stay superposed), therefore reinforcing the whole structure and (2) holding a set of wheels to slide the servers if necessary.
  • Wheels, because I wanted to move my lackrack around the neighbourhood and boast about my glorious idea… or simply because I wanted to access the back of my servers. So, basically, I fixed four wheels under the legs to move the lackrack… and several on two railings to slide the servers out should I want to remove them easily without scratching the paint.

I was quite uncomfortable with those two railings and wheels holding those massive servers… I mean, there was nothing between the front and rear legs and a part of me started to twitch nervously. So I bought a third lack table because the more the merrier (but I took a second-hand one)… I removed the legs and threw them in the lackrack, like… this :

<—- So here we’ve got one R620 and one R720 living the dream in their comfy super apartment, sliding around joyfully as I move the lackrack because there is nothing to secure them at all and they may just roll out to their death.

Time passed by (so slowly ♫) and this could have been a lovely fairly tale if those legs were not hollow.

Remember that advice I mentioned in the introduction? That one should always keep in mind that those tables are weak? Well… shit happened… and one of the lower wheel got inside the leg. You read it right: it pierced the wooden part of the leg and got inside. Dell servers weights a lot, they are massive and they need strong support. That’s your mama sitting on poor-quality tables. And you love your mama, show her some respect.

So if there is a moral to that story… it’s that you should :

Never skip leg day!

Back to my DIY shop, I looked for a way to make that rack stronger. I could have tried to find pieces of wood to put inside the legs but I was WAY TOO LAZY to first remove the chipboard thingy inside them, scrub thoroughly and then slide them inside.

So I bought replacement legs made of real solid wood and some black spray paint.

Don't judge a leg by its colour (I painted them soon after). On the right : a genuine IKEA leg not in its original habitat.

Then I removed the four bottoms Ikea legs and replaced them with those proud motherfuckers. Finally, I screwed the bottom wheels back and used the former IKEA legs to reinforce the two railings supporting the servers (because you know, trust issues).

That was not enough, I guess

Then, things got a bit out of hand and I bought another server. I tried to explain to my wife that HomeLab`ing is a curse, that there’s some kind of magic in the air, that I had no other choice but to win that Ebay auction… Sadly, despite my full-scaled sincerity, she did not acknowledge my arguments.

Anyway, I bought some wheels and improved the LackRack, giving some comfort to its new inhabitant. As you can see, I used the lower tray of the lack coffee table (on top of the lower table) to secure the wheels because the top part of the table is just some very thin wood with a honeycomb structure inside.

Closing words

Lackracks are tremendous fun to build: enjoy mounting your own rack for your beloved servers. Sure, it doesn’t look as sexy as your average expensive full-metal specialised rack… but you’ll feel quite proud of your work.  🙂

And don’t forget leg day.