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Build-it-yourself rack

Discussion in 'Amps and Cabs [BG]' started by Davidoc, Jun 30, 2002.

  1. I have a QSC USA 850 poweramp (Broken, but I'll get it fixed soon) and and going to buy an ampeg SVP Pro preamp.

    I can't pay for a rack case, so should I make one? Does anyone know how I would do it? Plywood? thanks!!!
  2. Brendan

    Brendan Supporting Member

    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    I was sorta thinking the same thing.
    Get some void free plywood, make a rack case, give it a finish coat to prevent moisture and such affecting it (though maybe that more a problem here in FL than other parts of the world), then cover it in carpet. Or some of that plastic stuff you see on some amps (I know you can by it. I wanna say vinyl), and cover it. Slap some handles on it, and you'd be set. Drill holes in the sides, and stick some threaded inserts in, so the screws wouldn't wear out the wood.

    It'd be heavier than a regular rack case, maybe cheaper, and probably not as well engeered. I'd just wait wait and get a real one.
  3. its not really do it yourself.. first off the doctor traces the out line of the projected area.......... wait wrong topic...

    a dude at our church made rack cases for all the gear/recorders etc out of ply wood and some like 1x1 boards on the edges for the mounts.
  4. I made one. easy as piss.

    Measure out a square of ply, even sit your rack case on it so you get the 19" across the front. Make the square bigger than your rack. damn i gotta go i'll type more up tomorrow!


  5. I've built many racks--all the racks in my home setup are stuff I've built. It's way cheaper than buying studio furniture, and mine look pretty damn nice I'll have to say. I've used 3/4" plywood for most of mine, with an inside opening width of 19.375" ( I should double check the opening--dont' base your design on this measurement just yet). The opening accomodates the 19" piece of gear, 1/8" on each side for the rails, and another 1/8" overall for extra space. I have used the rack rails from middle atlantic, which are 1/8" thick steel. Making a rack case with lids is a little more difficult, but not that bad. Make a solid box first and cut off the lids later. This way, you'll get a good match to the case with the lids. I made a shock-mount case as well that I could slip a standard 4 space skb case into for road work. To keep it light I made
    that case a little flimsy and it got destroyed on a flight, but survived many other flights. Strong cases will be heavy.
  6. 44me


    Jun 17, 2002
    Bedford, NH USA
    I’ve done a few big gigs where the sound was done by this guy who builds all own his racks and most of his speaker enclosures. His stuff seems to stand up pretty well, but it’s heavy. If you are doing something big for home like TheGeneral described, than the home-built plywood rack is the way to go, but if you want something to hold a couple of pieces of equipment for gigging, I’d check out e-bay. With a little patience you can get a 4-space SKB case for about $50.
  7. I'm going to be building my own rack sometime soon. Hopefully it works out well. I'm doing it because my friend has most of the materials anyways so it will be cheaper. I'm a poor bum...I can't afford new stuff.
  8. Ok this is how i did it:

    I had my rack cases, 3 of them. I only used one for marking out as well... they're all the same. :p

    I used 4 ply or Marine Ply is good if you can get it.

    I had a large piece laying around (from a dog kennel believe it or not!), so i started at one end. I placed the rack on the wood and with a measuring tape measured 19" across the front, then i went 11" down the side or there abouts, it gave me some extra room for power cables to be rolled up. I just guessed, i thought "well i reckon if i have this much excess past the rack case back i can roll leads up"

    So i cut two squares measuring 19" by 11". (approx)

    Then I started to measure the sides. I placed the rack on one of the squares, measured how high it was. then went ok 4 times such and such (about 3" i think each rack case is) equals this, then i gave spacing of about 2 centremetres between racks so added that. plus the thickness of the wood (as the sides will be attached to the bottom plate sides, not sitting on top of the base plates).

    Once all the pieces have been cut, i found some right angled brackets, medium-sized flat things, probably used for making pergolas. Had them lying about. I chiseled out a little section on the bottom and top plates, and also on the side and screwed in the angle brackets. I then attached the sides to these. I then reinforced the sides with wood screws.

    All the while double checking everything, and checking the rack case slid freeling in and out. I then went on the search and found some aluminium brackets. You know the type you mount on the wall/inside a display case and clip those light weight shelves into??? I used them, mounted them to the sides at the "front".

    With the pieces of ply left over, i measured the front of the "cube" and cut out two pieces. I then found off cuts say 2" thick by 12mm. And screwed them to the tops of these two plates to make "endcaps" for the cube. I then covered it all in speaker carpet, found some chest handles, and put on cabinent latches to hold the end caps on.

    Then i rested the cube on its back and slide one of the rack mount cases in there. Positioned it rgih, grabbed the drill and drilled out the mounting holes into the aluminium brackets and found suitable bolts to fit.

    Get it? got it? good! :D:D


  9. If you have plenty of time on your hands give homemade racks a try. All the homemade racks, amp stands, PA cabinets I have ever seen were heavy as all get out and were eventually replaced by manufactured products. IMO just save your money and buy new or used cases and racks and be done with it. Also if you ever want to up grade your equipment you'll have something with value to trade in.
  10. Depends I mean my rack case is no heavier than commercial ones, didn't cost me anything (which is handy) and looks like a professional unit.



    Who wants to spend money?
  11. Thanks alot!

    Thanks Merlin for the detailed explanation! That was very helpful!

    I think I'll decide what to do when I get the poweramp fixed and the preamp bought.

    Maybe I'll have enough money left over to get a case?
  12. Chasarms

    Chasarms Casual Observer Supporting Member

    May 24, 2001
    Saint Louis, MO USA
    IMO, (as usual)

    If you are going to buy all the materials, that is, you don't have some of them laying around, you will end up spending $25-30.

    I see 4-space cases used and in good condition all the time for $40-50 bucks. Seems like a great deal of hastle to save $20.

    IME, stationary homemade racks are fine for a basement studio, rehearsal hall, club or whatever. But if you are going to roadie the gear all the time, you want the commercially built ones. If for no other reason than the way the end covers seal and such.

    But, it might be fun for you to build one, so go ahead. You are your own man.

  13. The whole point is to move the stuff around. If I wasn't, I wouldn't need a case. It's just that the poweramp's a pain in the ass to lug around. Not so much the weight as that there are no handles. The preamp would be one more thing to transport back and forth.
  14. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    I built a rack for my preamp/poweramp (5-spaces total) and have been lugging it around for 19.5 years, and it's still very sturdy. The whole thing (loaded) weighs 55lbs.
    I'll take a pic or two when a get a chance.
  15. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    Making it was easy.
    I got the boards and screws from the building materials store down the road. I cut slots in the side boards for the rack ears to slide down into, pre-drilled all the screw holes then used long wood screws.

    Here's a pic (laugh if you must but it's served me well for the past 19.5 years). As you can tell, I just threw it together. Even when I decided to paint it, I was too lazy to take the amps out so I taped em off and painted it. Also, you can see the stamped lettering on the edge of the boards! For support of the heavy poweramp, I found a paperback book of just the right thickness and placed it under the transformer.

    The CH-1 Super Chorus is being replaced by an EBS UniChorus, due to arrive in a week or so.

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