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  1. #1
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    My DIY stereo rack, since some have asked

    I built this earlier this year... I'll discuss it a bit after the images

    1:


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    4:


    So that's it, also that's my stereo. New speaker stands (not DIY) and new speakers will get tossed in there in a month or so.

    Basic design of the stand was one 3' x 6' sheet of 3/4" MDF, four 1/4" threaded rods and an assortment of nuts and washers to hold it all together.

    A friend has a similar one, except using heavier duty rods (3/4") which I felt was overkill. It can flex a bit if you shove it but otherwise it's very stable, and that's really fairly dependent on how much you tighten it anyway.

    I had a friend help me drill the holes in each corner of the boards, they're slightly larger than the rod so it floats a bit. I used the neoprene rubber washers on the top two shelves as much for the illusion of vibration isolation as to protect the MDF surface and paint.

    Painting MDF is kind of a pain, particularly on the cut edges since it's not perfectly smooth and absorbs a bunch of the paint. I could do it better but ultimately got what I wanted and didn't care to go overboard on it. The paint was just a semi-gloss black latex which I rolled on.


    I realize that my speaker cables are too long, I'm going to put some shorter ones on there in the next week. They were fine before, but now that I have a new desk and have rearranged, they're going all over the place.

  2. #2
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Very Nice, not to dissimilar from mine, except mines about 6 feet tall with more shelves, and MDF spines. I used paint, but if I did again I'd use vinyl laminate like what PE sells...cheaper and way easier.

  3. #3
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    Hey, I have a pair of those!!! Same color.

  4. #4
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    I might consider doing something with vinyl down the road. Probably is easier, and more durable. And you have a pair of what? Speakers, stands? Ya lost me!

  5. #5
    Loving This kexodusc's Avatar
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    No, the Axioms...The vinyl is reasonably durable. If your amps are quite heavy or have sharp edges or anything like that, it would be worth spending a few dollars at a hardware store to put soft felt feet on them. But, then again, if you aren't rubbing your gear against the vinyl, it'll be tough enough. It looks nice at least.

  6. #6
    Phila combat zone JoeE SP9's Avatar
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    A couple of years ago I built a dual flexy rack ala TNT Audio. One 4x8 sheet of MDF makes 12 18"x24" shelves. I also used 4 3ft lengths of 5/8" all thread, one 50 piece box of nuts, 50 steel washers, 50 neoprene washers and one can of black paint. I put 2 rods in the middle and 1 on each end. I had the lumber yard cut the MDF and used a buddy's drill press and a homemade jig to get the holes in the shelves in the same place. Total cost around $95. The box of nuts at $48 was the largest expense.
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  7. #7
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    I think mine cost me a total of $40 or 50 to build. I just bought a couple small bags of nuts and washers. The neoprene ones were probably the most expensive part The neoprene ones I used also don't all have the same inner diameter.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by emorphien
    I think mine cost me a total of $40 or 50 to build. I just bought a couple small bags of nuts and washers. The neoprene ones were probably the most expensive part The neoprene ones I used also don't all have the same inner diameter.

    I too built a couple of these in different configurations. The final outcome was a simple stacker but the options are endless with this design.

    Its stable enough for my turntable and cost me ~$60 for Oak ply and the threaded rod. All parts available from home improvement store.

    Ill likely do another with emphasis on aesthetics to reduce the industrial appearance and blend more with my decor. Sure beats the $300+ alternatives in the store. And if you don't put up any vertical panels, its acoustically transparent in your listening environment.


  9. #9
    nerd ericl's Avatar
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    I've built a couple of those.. one using MDF, the other using Maple cutting boards. Mine had three legs instead of four. The maple sounds so much better! (note sarcasm)

  10. #10
    Mutant from table 9
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    I think this a pretty popular design. I did two last winter as LP racks. I used 12" wide poplar planks cut to 3' lengths wiht 5/8" threaded rod. Finished the planks with natural stain and semi-gloss poly.

    It is the stongest LP rack I've ever had. I finally found an affordable and good LP solution after years of looking.
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  11. #11
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    Nice; your turntable might like it if you put spikes on the bottom of your rack. You should be able to find some that just thread onto the "all thread" rods. On the other hand if the floor isn't solid, the spikes could make things worse.

    If you upgrade your speakers the whole spike or no spike issue will need to be revisited depending on how much bass energy ends up in the floor.

    As you probably know, turntables usually sound best when sitting on something rock solid, this is not true if what they are sitting on vibrates with bass.
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  12. #12
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    I agree with you. I've played with a couple things, but currently haven't got any really big problems with it since the rack is fairly solid and vibrations don't seem to permeate it. I don't have tons of bass coming out of this setup, and don't expect to with a speaker upgrade. I'll see when I get there

  13. #13
    Do What? jrhymeammo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SlumpBuster
    I think this a pretty popular design. I did two last winter as LP racks. I used 12" wide poplar planks cut to 3' lengths wiht 5/8" threaded rod. Finished the planks with natural stain and semi-gloss poly.

    It is the stongest LP rack I've ever had. I finally found an affordable and good LP solution after years of looking.
    Hey Slumpy,

    Could you tell me how you have you records rested on both ends? Did you endup getting a couple of 12 inche squares so records dont rest on threaded poles? I`ve had my eyes on 4x4 bookshelf from IKEA, but S/H is $240 for a $150 item . So, gonna build myslef a LP Rack 4 Sho!!!

  14. #14
    Forum Regular DiscoRage's Avatar
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    My father helped me build one like this last year. I got the instructions from http://www.tnt-audio.com/clinica/flexye.html

    The site suggests three legs instead of four, which is what I did. My stands are made with some pretty ugly MDF with unfinshed edges. I've never gotten around to replacing the shelves with something nicer. I'm thinking of using clear acrylic or tempered glass.
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  15. #15
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Thanks for the link, I'm not sure I've seen that before but that's probably where my friend got his idea. He actually did 3 legs but eventually added a fourth. I thought about doing 3, but preferred the look and rigidity of four.

  16. #16
    nightflier
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    Nice rack (and I'm talking about the audio rack). Here's my DIY experience:

    I built a similar rack (4 shelves), after having purchased a Salamander one from Audio Advisor. After putting together the Salamander, I figured I could do this too. Well... w/o a dedicated wood shop, that's not as easy as it looks. But I did build one.

    I used the thickest rods I could get my hands on, which was probably overkill and only served to increase the cost of the nuts & washers. I did use only three rods, though, which according to TNT Audio makes it easier to balance the rack on the ground. That's true, but then it's also easier to have the whole thing off kilter w/o really noticing until you're sitting down to enjoy your music and realizing you've got some more nuts to adjust.

    I used MDF-type particle board, and then used regular stained wood baseboard edging to finish the egdes. It took a few tries to get the edges to match the MDF, but it was a lot nicer looking afterwards than just painting the edges. Also, since the baseboard is wider than the MDF, it actually looked like a my shelves were thicker than they really were, although the fact that this hid the nuts and washers under the shelves did kind of gave the illusion away.

    One more issue with MDF is that it's pretty dense stuff and you really need a solid drill to get through it - my rechargeable was hardly up to the task. And lining up the holes exactly wasn't easy either, although having just three of them made minor errors easier to hide. In any case, it's probaly better to have them professionally drilled at a qualified shop. TNT Audio suggested using two boards glued together, but that was too much work and would have killed my drill. If I do this again, I would probably use a sheet of nice oak on top and MDF on the bottom with oak baseboards so that it would be easy to match the stain all around.

    It cost me about $140 (mostly Home Depot) to put the whole thing together. I sold it to a friend for about $100 when I needed something bigger. I sort of wish I would have kept it.

  17. #17
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Agreed, a handheld drill could have issues with MDF. I had a friend help me and we used a drill press on campus. Definitely didn't hit $100 in building mine, maybe $60 but yours sounds a bit fancier.

    I have a couple possible upgrades/expansions in mind for mine, including a "side" shelf or something to put CDs and things on and I could always refinish it in a different way. I like your edge trim idea too, I may look in to that a bit.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by emorphien
    I built this earlier this year... I'll discuss it a bit after the images


    So that's it, also that's my stereo. New speaker stands (not DIY) and new speakers will get tossed in there in a month or so.

    Basic design of the stand was one 3' x 6' sheet of 3/4" MDF, four 1/4" threaded rods and an assortment of nuts and washers to hold it all together..
    I'm in an art metal and glass class, and I hope you are'nt too angry when I say that I have every intention of ripping off your design and re-making it with glass and steel.

    Very clever!

  19. #19
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spasticteapot
    I'm in an art metal and glass class, and I hope you are'nt too angry when I say that I have every intention of ripping off your design and re-making it with glass and steel.

    Very clever!
    Whatever you do, share some pictures with us!

  20. #20
    Forum Regular hermanv's Avatar
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    I used to have one of those wood entertainment system cabinets, you know, they hold a TV, VCR and a set of shelves with glass doors at the side and then some storage in the bottom. Mine was about 5 1/2 feet tall. I had my TV and stereo stuff in it. The wooden cabinet wasn't damped. The system actually sounded hollow and boxy (with ESL speakers yet). I did have a vacuum tube pre-amp at the time.

    I damped all the shelves and got rubber feet, it helped a lot but there was still some hollowness left in the sound. Because of it's size and heat, my power amp sat on the top of this cabinet. Ha, I thought, I'll cut a marble slab to put under the power amp, that'll dampen that wooden sound. Well it did, but the sound ended up "glassy", sure enough a tap on the new marble piece sounded just like tapping glass.

    I know it's a long winded story, I also know glass is quite pretty and very popular for stereo racks. My experience says that rack construction and materals can be very important if you strive as I do for the vey best possible sound. If you must have glass please consider a layer of dampning material glued to the bottom. There is a sticky backed asphalt paper made for this purpose available cheap from Parts Express (and others I'm sure) or maybe a thin plywood bonded to the bottom of the shelves?

    Anyone else have experience with rack construction affecting sound?
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  21. #21
    nightflier
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    Just out of curiosity, Mapleshade sells similar audio racks that are uber-expensive. The shelves do look very thick, but I'm still curious, are charging too much for these?

  22. #22
    test the blind blindly emorphien's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nightflier
    Just out of curiosity, Mapleshade sells similar audio racks that are uber-expensive. The shelves do look very thick, but I'm still curious, are charging too much for these?
    Funny you mention that, I was looking at the Mapleshade catalog today (and giggling). I looked at those racks (as I have before). I don't have the materials or the ability to manufacture one exactly like those, but I don't imagine it's so complex as to justify those prices. FWIW I think Audio Advisor in their catalogs (and i'm sure online) have similar ones that aren't anywhere near the price of the mapleshade ones from what I recall.

  23. #23
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    I made one of theses also years ago... I glued 2 layers of MDF together for each shelf. Work great!
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  24. #24
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    Cool

    Hi, I have done almost the same thing in the past, with the rods, etc. I usually use birch veneer plymood, and then iron on veneer strips to the edges. You could do the same with the black, and get a smooth edge. P.S. This is also a great, easy, and attractive way to build a 6'" Amp stand, to keep your monoblocks off the floor,
    Last edited by JohnMichael; 09-08-2012 at 01:46 AM.

  25. #25
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    Woke up this morning and saw this thread as I was doing my morning website rounds....the glue on my oak veneers is now drying, stain and edging tomorrow then the final assembly! Already prefit everything and it worked great, very sturdy even without lock-tite on the bolts which I'll do afterwards, they seem to want to loosen up when moved. Hope it turns out as well as yours did!
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