How to Build an Ikea “Lack Rack” for Your Home Lab

As a sysadmin, I keep in the loop with the home lab/hobbyist community and am always looking for cool things to try and do with computers. One of the projects I’ve been looking to take on for some time has been a rack to store my IT equipment. Granted, I don’t have a ton – a decent server, small NAS, and some other miscellaneous hardware – but having all this stuff just sitting on the floor of my utility room is not ideal by any means.

Through online forums and /r/homelab on reddit, I came up with a game plan to do this on the cheap.

Enter the Lack Rack.

Somehow, it was discovered that Ikea’s lack table line provides a near perfect fit for rack-sized hardware. There is a decent amount of information out there if you’re Googling around for how to build one (Even a whole site dedicated to them). But, most of what I found out there was using a side table with legs only. Kind of like this:

lackrack

I didn’t really love that style.  It looks and feels half done to me.  So, I decided to take it a little bit further.  I used 2 lack tables since they’re so cheap which allowed me to give it a base.  Then I wanted to be able to wheel it around, so I also added some caster style wheels on the bottom as well.  Here are a couple pics of what I ended up with

IMG_20140804_092158IMG_20140804_092230

 

I haven’t really seen any good writeups with doing a lack rack in this style, and therefore I wanted to go ahead and share my experiences with the interenet.

Here’s how I made my lack rack

What to get:

  • 2x Ikea Lack Side tables.  I recommend 22 inch version vs. the 21 and 5/8 that seem to be on other guides. This is a perfect/snug fit.  I can’t imagine a 21 and 5/8 table fitting my server without me having to bump the legs out a little bit.  Note that it seems the black table is the only one that comes in 22”
  • If you want to be able to roll this rig, get 4 caster style wheels that you can easily screw onto the bottom
  • Some hardware.  You’ll need at least 4 of something like  these corner brace/angle bracket things, as well as some self-drilling style screws to mount those and your wheels.  I recommend taking some time looking at the screw width, depth, and length.  These are Ikea tables after all, so you have to sort of balance out how hard you tighten them down while being careful not to strip it out.  I didn’t have any problems using some screws with pretty wide threads that bit into the wood fairly well.  You should need 24 screws if you’re doing wheels and braces.
  • Optional:  A couple of these rails to set your gear on!  I haven’t done this yet, and I’m not sure if I will.  But you might want to line the sides of your lack rack with these.

The Assembly Steps:

  • Gather your 2x Ikea Lack side tables (again, I am a fan of the black 22” version).
  • Assemble the first table completely per the provided instructions.  It’s very easy…  You essentially just have to hand screw the legs onto the top.
  • Open the 2nd table and take just the top, which you will actually use as the bottom of your rack.  This shall henceforth be referred to as the “base”.  You’ll have 4 legs left over. Find something creative to use them for?
  • Using the angle bracket/corner brace things, attach your first fully assembled table to the base of the 2nd table.  It might sound a little complicated, but you really just set the base from your 2nd table down flat with the finished side up, and then set your fully assembled table on top of it.  I did not pre-drill any holes and they all screwed in very easily without stripping.  It’s worth mentioning again that it did feel like it’d be easy to strip the wood, so don’t over tighten.
  • Reminder, finished side of the base goes up.  You don’t want the bottom of your rack decorated while the visible base section is unfinished wood.  You can see from my pictures how the top/bottom are oriented and the way I used the brackets to mount the tables together.
  • You should now have a mostly fully functioning “lack rack” – Congratulations!  Now if you like, go ahead and flip it upside down and screw on your caster style wheels to the bottom.
  • And there you go, you should be all set.

I might find a way to add some sides to this build to clean it up a little bit.  It also could use some cable management.  And as I stated earlier I may end up putting some rails along the sides.  I’ll call this my stage 1 for a decent home lab lack rack.  Total cost?  About 35 dollars.  Hope this helps if you’re considering a build!