In the past years I started to switch most of the technology that runs at my home towards 19" rack sized devices. Biggest reason for this was to slowly build up and progress towards a full sized 19" rack that you would find in a single family house or a small business. So for me I always wanted to have the option when moving from a flat to a full size home, that most of my tech is ready and scalable to work in a much larger environment. And as I always prefered cabling every single stationary device over using wifi, even if it would be more comfortable, I quickly started to utilize more powerful hardware like the Unifi line anyway.

Speaking of which, I am a huge fan of the unifi devices and their silver look. So when the question came up, where to store all the 19" rack devices in a small apartment, I quickly landed on customizing an existing IKEA Besta shelf towards a rack shelf. Most important parts here were: stability, ventilation and design.

So for stability I decided to custom cut and bend steel rack rails, that would support the weight and give extra strength to the shelf itself.

For ventilation I removed the backplate of the shelf and placed 2 140mm super silent Noctua fans in the back to blow out the hot air. Also important to mention that the shelf is not placed in any possible direct sunlight distance, so it does not get heated up extra than the normal room temperature from any outside source.

Lastly the design was important to me. I wanted to have a nice clean look like the Unifi line, BUT 99% of all rack hardware and rack accessories you can find are either in black or in super ugly 80s retro light grey. I really wonder why never ever anyone started to offer nicer options like Ubiquiti with their Aluminum cases. As I can't change that, I decided to shop everything I needed in whatever color it exited in and than recolor it afterwards with Dupli-Color Aluminum color spray that matches the Unifi color line perfectly close. I really like the effects of this color and think it provides easy amazing results. See for your self in a before and after comparison:

Assembly and painting process:

DISCLAIMER: The Aluminium color from Dupli-Color needs for perfect durability, that you harden it after drying in an oven at 160°C for 30 minutes. That wasn't mentioned on my can, so I missed out on it and wondered why my parts get scratched so easily. So consider this when you paint your parts! More information about hardening at Dupli-Color.

Hardware and parts list:

Here is the list of parts and hardware I used:
(listing it from top to bottom order in the rack shelf)

  1. Controller: Unifi Cloud Key Gen2 Pro with HDD (or Cloud Key Gen2 normal)
  2. Router: Unifi Security Gateway Pro with DINIC ultra flat power cord
  3. Blend 19" 1u from DIGITUS (repainted)
  4. Brush cable panel 19" 1u from LogiLink Professional (ORCEB1B) (repainted)
  5. Patch panel: deleyCON 19" 1u 24 port modular Keystone patch panel (repainted)
  6. Switch: Unifi 48 port PoE 750w switch with DINIC ultra flat power cord
  7. Patch panel: deleyCON 19" 1u 24 port modular Keystone patch panel (repainted)
  8. Shelf with blend 19" 2u (for Pis, ATV etc): Adam Hall 8755 19" shelf 2u with ah 19" 87222VR ventilated blend 2u (repainted)
  9. Blend 19" 1u from DIGITUS (repainted)
  10. PLEX Server 19" 3u: yakkaroo ultra low depth (30cm) case IPC-C330

List of Paint, Rails and other needed accessories:

  1. Color Aluminium: Dupli-Color 376047 Aluminium Spray 400 ml (I needed 3 cans for all)
  2. Rack rails: 14u 61535B14 Rack rail, black (recolored)
  3. RJ-45 white jumper cables: BIGtec 15cm cat6a rj45 cable pack, white
  4. Rack cage screws and mounts: BIGtec 20x 19" cage screws set M6

Cooling system parts:

  1. AC Infinity T9 silent cooling system with control unit
  2. AC Infinity S9 airplate 3x 120mm expansion unit

Enjoy painting and building your own custom Unifi Rack 🙂