Free woodworking plans to build your own 19" wall mount rack for patch panels for your home structured wiring project.
Having the patch panels of your structured wiring installed in a rack instead is a little neater and in my opinion looks better than using smaller standoffs like wall mounts. The patch panels that have a little plastic bracket that attaches to the wall are not full 19" width. At least the one's I've seen anyway like this Intellinet 12-Port Cat6 Wall-mount Patch Panel . If you need more than 12 ports that means you're going to have to mount more than 1 of them and they're not much cheaper than getting a single 1U 24 port patch panel. I'm considering these Cable Matters 1U 24-Port Cat6 Unshielded Patch Panels because they have the plastic arm in the back that can support the cables.
You just need some way to mount the patch panels to your plywood structured media panel. In this article I'll provide plans for building a simple 7U wall mount rack for patch panels and as a bonus a simple 2U hinged bracket.
2U Hinged Wall Mount Patch Panel Bracket PlansFirst a quickie..
This one's pretty simple. 1U is 1-3/4" high. A 1x4 board is 3-1/2" wide, the same as 2U. Get an 8' 1x4 S4S Poplar board (or other hardwood, wouldn't recommend pine or "whitewood" for this) and you can make three 2U brackets for less than the cost of one Monoprice 2U Wall Mount Bracket which is the cheapest I found.
Just cut a 19" length of the 1x4 for the back and cut 2 pieces for the sides as deep as you want the bracket to be. 4-6" works well. Use pocket screws and glue to attach the sides to the back. You can even add one of these 3" Narrow Utility Hinges (2 pack with screws) if you want. The hinges are nice when you're first punching down the patch panel but after that they only come in handy if you want to run additional cable or if you need to replace the patch panel.
If you want to make it deeper increase the 2-1/2" measurement. Start with the hinged side first then place your 1x4 next to the hinged side to mark it for cutting so they line up.
No need to add rails. Just use wood screws to attach the patch panels by screwing directly into the wood sides. Just remember to drill pilot holes first.
Use the links above to order the board, hinges and don't forget the wood glue and Kreg 1-1/4" Coarse thread screws if you're out, have them shipped to your local store to pick up tomorrow after work and you can have the whole thing built before Hawaii Five-0 airs. Then next Wednesday sand, prime and paint it a semi-gloss black while Revolution is on because let's be honest... You're really not sure why you still watch it after they killed off Vala Maldoran's husband in the beginning of the pilot when he was the main reason you programmed it in your DVR to begin with... but I digress...
Now for the main attraction, the 7U Wall Mount Rack...
What You'll Need
- (2) 1x3 8' S4S Poplar Boards
- (36) 1-1/4" Coarse Thread Kreg Pocket Hole Screws
- Wood Glue
- Some way to make square cuts in dimensional lumber such as a power miter saw or miter box.
- Kreg Pocket Hole Jig
- Tape Measure
Cut ListAll the following are cut from the 1x3 boards.
- (2) 19" Back Horizontal Rails
- (1) 17-1/2" Top Brace
- (2) 13-3/8" Front Vertical Rails
- (4) 8-3/8" Back Vertical Rails
- (4) 4-3/4" Sides
CustomizationI designed the wall mount rack with an inside depth of 7-1/4" because that should be deep enough to fit a small desktop switch that also comes with rack ears like the TP-LINK TL-SG1016D provided you're using a right angle power cord. Double check the equipment you plan on mounting in it to make sure it fits but remember this isn't a server rack. It's meant for lighter equipment like patch panels. I'll have a wall mount server rack plan coming soon.
If you want to have more or less rack space on it change the height of the vertical pieces. Multiply the number of U's you want by 1.75" add 3/4" for the top brace and 3/8" to have a little room at the bottom. That will be the height of the front boards. Subtract 5" and that's the height for the other verticals on the back. All other dimensions stay the same.
If you'd like to make a shelf so you don't buy one of those expensive rack shelves... Add 1/2" to the height of the shelf and cut a piece of 1/2" plywood to fit inside the rack. Use pocket hole screws to attach it to the vertical members.
I chose not to make this a hinged rack. I may post some modifications for hinges in the future if anyone indicates they're interested.
Step 1: Make SidesUsing glue and pocket hole screws make 2 side assemblies that consist of 1 Front Rail, 2 Sides, and 1 Back Vertical Rail each as shown.
Step 2: Attach Back Rails and TopAttach the 2 19" back rails to the Side assemblies using glue and pocket hole screws. Cut the Top Brace to size, drill pocket hole screws and attach it to the top/front of the rack. I chose to put the pocket holes on the top of the top rail because I plan on screwing this to the underside of a shelf but if you'd prefer you can put the pocket holes on the bottom. Your wall mount rack should now look like this.
Step 3: Attach Back Vertical RailsMake sure everything is square and the measurements are correct. Front should have an outside width of 19". Glue and screw the 2 outside Back Verticals using pocket hole screws.
Tada! You made you're wall mount patch panel rack, saved about $35 and earned the respect of your peers. Couldn't resist the pun. :) Not bad for less than $15.
Step 4: FinishingThis isn't fine furniture and it's not going to sitting in the middle of your living room where everyone gets to see it constantly (as much as you'd like that) but it's a good idea to finish it to help keep it clean and protect it.
Just put a few coats of your choice of clear finish on it. Don't bother trying to stain it. Poplar can be finicky with stain. I've had some success spraying the Minwax Black Satin PolyShades (I know everyone hates PolyShades) and might go with that or just prime and paint it black.
Once you're finish has dried, add some markers on the front rails to delineate each rail. This is optional but I think will be useful.
First line starts at the bottom of the Top Brace then every 1-3/4" down.
When it's time to use your patch panel rack, securely mount it to the plywood you're using for your structured media panel. I'd try and get 4 screws threw the back of the rack all the way into the studs in the wall if I could too.