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Old 12-11-2009, 06:30 PM   #1
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What are typical sizes/grades of plywood?

I am planning on building a server rack out of wood, as metal ones are way too expensive, and I'm thinking if I custom build it myself I can add features that would normally not exist, such as better cable management, tons of outlets etc... as well as air flow "ducts".

I want to plan it out in AutoCAD so I can make sure it will fit where I want etc.

What are typical thicknesses of plywood that are pretty much standard? I'm thinking for my application 1/2 inch will do, maybe even smaller, but I still want this thing to be able to handle at least 500 pounds worth of equipment. I don't plan to put that much in, but I still want the possibility.

I may also use 2x's for framing but from what I've been told in another thread I don't have to, and it's best not to as unprocessed lumber like that tends to expand with moisture while plywood wont. Not yet sure how I will put it all together, I'm thinking lot of L brackets, or maybe just direct screwing together.

Also are plywood thicknesses pretty much accurate or do they vary like 2x's do?


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Old 12-11-2009, 07:29 PM   #2
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Plywood usually is pretty close between all sheets. Most plywoods are not exactly the size they are called. For example 1/2" is usually 15/32", 5/8" is 19/32, 3/4" is 23/32".


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Old 12-12-2009, 05:58 AM   #3
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Red, If you are looking for a 19" Rackmount computer server I would first look for a used rack on places like Craig's List. Used racks go for pennies on the dollar.

Making your own from plywood may work out especially if you don't absolutely need the rackmount feature. One way would be to use adjustable shelf cleats which mount on adjustable height shelf pins as they do not need a whole width shelf, which tends to block the air flow.

Another even better way that eliminates any shelf cleats is to find a supplier that sells the pre-tapped rails.

If Plywood is your choice I would use a cabinet grade plywood (NO HD plywood)

My choice would be
Baltic Birch (can be bought prefinished) or use MDO. They are like many better cabinet grades are Full Width. e.g. is ”.

Find a Plywood supplier in your area that sells to cabinetmakers. I am lucky here in So Cal because we have Anderson Plywood. Here is a link on what you may find in your area:

& Stay Safe
.....Bob Lavery

Last edited by PaliBob; 12-12-2009 at 11:26 AM. Reason: sp
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Old 12-13-2009, 10:25 PM   #4
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I've actually been looking at 4 post racks as they are cheaper (around 500 bucks compared to 1-2k), and might use those then just "encase" the rest with plywood for looks/airflow/cable management. Not yet sure what I want. My current servers are all towers, so I need to look at the cost in making them rackmount before. I might also just swallow the cost of a real rack.

I've thought of used, but I doubt I can find anything like that around here.
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