DIY Raspberry Pi Rack from Napkin Holders
Step by step instructions including photos for assembling a rack, from two steel napkin holders and cable ties, to hold 8 Raspberry Pis, in standard Raspberry Pi cases. What you need:
- Eight (8) raspberry pis in standard raspberry pi cases, along with any relevant cables for power and networking.
- Two (2) napkin holders of the type where napkins are stacked. Must have openings in sides, such as the steel lattice design that I used here.
- A bag of cable/zip ties (I used 16 total).
Step 1: Zip up the napkin weight
Use cable/zip ties to hold up the napkin weight on one of the napkin holders so that it is approximately level with the sides of the napkin holder.
Step 2: Attach the second napkin holder
The napkin holders that I used have feet that prevent aligning directly atop each other. Rotate the second napkin holder 45 degrees relative to the first. Use cable ties to attach. Make sure you use enough cable ties sufficiently tightened to ensure that the top napkin holder won't move. Specifically, use two cable ties on each of the three corners that come into contact with the bottom napkin holder. Additionally, use one cable tie to attach the napkin weight of the bottom holder to the bottom of the top holder.
Step 3: Trim the cable ties
Well, do what the heading of this step says.
Step 4: Zip the napkin weight to create a shelf
Use cable ties to prop up the napkin weight of the top napkin holder. I connected three cable ties in sequence to span the width of the napkin holder both below and above the napkin weight. I repeated this a couple inches away creating a shelf, which I'm using to hold a network switch.
Step 5: Arrange your Raspberry Pis and Route Cables
Each napkin holder is large enough for four raspberry pis in standard cases, each rotated such that ports are accessible via two sides at the corners. If you're using wired networking, you can sit a switch on top of the shelf you created in step 4. I'm using a couple phone chargers as a power source. I currently have them simply sitting next to the rack. Route your power and network cables through the lattice sides of the napkin holders. I used 3 foot long cables, which is partially to blame for the messy wiring in the photo. One foot length cables would be better (and neater). The cable routing will also turn out better if you are more patient than I am.