DIY Wall Mount Rack For Patch Panels

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.
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Homemade Wire Caddy

Free plans to build a simple, cheap yet effective wire caddy to help pull and store cables.

While planning my structured wiring project I wanted an way to easily pull cable bundles. When professional cable contractors come and pull data cables they show up with a bunch of cable in pull boxes. When they need to pull a bundle, they set up their boxes and pull one cable from each. Whatever is left over gets used for the next job.

If you're running structured wiring in your home... there is no next job. You may buy 2 or 3 1000' boxes of Cat6 for example. What do you do when you want to pull 6 or more cables in a single bundle?
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How Many Cables Can You Pull Through A Hole?

A guide to help figure out how many cables you can pull through a hole to help you plan your structured wiring project.

I'd like to run new cables for TV, phone and network and I came up with this little chart that might help you figure out how many telecom cables you can pull through a hole. It includes Cat3 2-pair, Cat3 4-pair, Cat5 4-pair, Cat5e 4-pair, Cat6 4-pair, RG59 and RG6 Quad Shield in various sized holes.
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How To Wire RJ45 Patch Panels For Home Phone Lines

You can create flexible, multi-line telephone wiring using Cat5 or Cat6 RJ45 patch panels. Here's some tips on how to wire RJ45 patch panels for telephone wiring.

Home networks are becoming more important and many people are adding structured wiring for high speed data lines in their existing homes or new construction to be able to transport large files such as video and backups quickly. While adding these new data lines it's a good time to rewire your outdated home telephone wiring too!

It's common to use a 66 block or 110 block for analog phone lines but it seemed a bit complicated to do what I wanted. You can create a simple switch board to help you manage multiple analog phone lines using the same RJ45 patch panels you're using for your Cat6 data lines.

You can have multiple lines per room and easily change which lines go to which rooms. You can have as many or as few incoming phone lines as you need but for this tutorial I'm going to assume there are 4 incoming phone lines. Let's say one main house voice line, 1 line for a home office plus 1 fax line and another line for an older kid's room.

I spent half this past weekend trying to find info on how to do what I wanted without much luck. After I figured out how best to wire telephones using Cat6 patch panels I decided to post it here so I don't forget and incase anyone else finds it useful.

If you don't have a need to regularly switch around your phone lines have a look at my posts on how to wire a 66 block and how to wire a residential 110 block. If you want something very simple use a Leviton Phone Distribution Panel which was very quick and easy to install.
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DIY Server Rack Plans

Free woodworking plans for an open frame or enclosed 20U Server Rack for home or small office.

I have a few rack mount servers that I use for testing and development. These days home servers are becoming more popular. Everything from storage servers, home theater servers, home automation and more are making their way into people's homes and having a rack mount enclosure helps fit all those servers neatly in one spot.

Every so often I look into purchasing a rack to put them in but even used they're not cheap. A new half height, no frills open rack cabinet (like this Tripp Lite SR4POST25 25U 4-Post Open Frame Rack Cabinet) sells for a few hundred dollars. Enclosed racks are around $1,000.

Out of curiosity I wanted to see what it would take to build my own so I designed and priced out a 20U server rack. 20U is more than most people will need for a home server rack but I chose that height because it puts the top at a comfortable position as a standing desk. You can place a monitor, keyboard and mouse hooked up to a KVM switch to have direct console access.

Pricing wasn't too bad. Materials for an enclosed 20U server rack came out to just under $400. For an open rack it was only about $100 including casters. Much cheaper than buying a server enclosure. Here's what I came up with if anyone is interested.
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DIY Table Top Photo Studio Plans

Every so often I try to get rid of things I don't need any more by selling them on Ebay or Craigslist. I've found that having good photos helps items sell faster and get better prices so I made this little table top light box to take better product photos. It was made mostly of things I had lying around. Here are plans to build one yourself.
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