Thinking about building a rack (as I have not been able to find any in the $500 range) and don't know where you can buy MDF board. Any suggestions would be appreciated as well as suggestions for any other kind of material, thanks, Richard
Rspark, Lowe's carries MDF. Or you can get a Sanus Euro rack (MDF). However, in your price range you can get a much higher quality rack. I'm thinking of getting a Critical Mass rack from Rainwater Audio. It was used in some high-end rooms at T.H.E. Show in LA this year.
Home Depot sells 3/4 inch MDF in a size that works perfect when they cut it in thirds. I don't recall the dimensions exactly but I built a nice, inexpensive rack for my daughter's dorm room. One piece of MDF, four 36 inch sections of all thread, some nuts, washers, paint and you're ready to go. Way less than $50.
Be very carful when cutting MDF, most brands of it give off toxic gas when sawed. You should always wear a filtering breathing mask, (not the cheap paper cone type) when cutting MDF. There is some MDF available that doesn't give off toxic fumes but it's much more expensive and the guys at the big box hardware stores will look at you like you just beamed in from the plane Zorbon when you ask them about which type MDF they sell. I would take some of the earlier suggestions and look for either a used rack or one of the above before I started messing with MDF, not only for the toxic fume reason but because it is very fragile, unless you use a hardwood or metal for the frame, it has a very low shear weight component. MDF is really only good for shelving.
Did not realize MDF was so easily obtained. Thanks for your suggestions about racks I might consider as I was not certain building one is the way I want to go. Any more suggestions about material/racks would be appreciated,Rspark
Rspark Sorry if I am sounding rough but in my opinion a person who does not know a source to buy MDF is NOT a do it yourselfer and therefore ,don't try building one.It will cost you hours of work and probably it won't look the bussiness either,Just buy from a rack company and save your self the hassle.I did bulind my own aluminum rack but I got most of the commercialy avalaible tools in my garage plus I am in the construction work for years.Still it was a challenge and did hit my thumb hard and was sore for weeks.How? A little scary but while cutting 1/2 thick aluminum on my chop saw ,I forced the 10 inch blade a little harder and with no lubricant,and the cut off piece went flying ,hiting my thumb.The blade at 90$ was warped and thrown away after only few cuts. So my point is if you are not comfortable with power tools just let go and buy ready made . Thanks Regards George
Sorry George - I can't agree with you at all. If you can get Home Depot to cut the MDF to your desired size, the rest is just drilling holes, painting - not all too hard. I say "go for it" and be proud of what you make.
Thanks for all your suggestions. I left a message with Rainwater Audio to find out what their prices are (found their website-criticalmasssystems.com). But people seem please with the Sanus euro--but I don't think the tubes are fillable with sand or lead shot. Any other experience with the Sanus sand would be appreciated, Thanks, Richard
Rspark, Currently, my equipment is on three Sanus Euro racks. Filling the metal rack posts with sand and then screwing them together is a pain in the neck, but doable. That reduces the resonance problem in the posts. HOWEVER, the MDF shelves in the Euro are very resonant and ring like mad (even with the sand-filled posts). That in turn excites the ringing in some of the components resting on those shelves. The ringing can be easily heard by simply tapping the shelf with your knuckles. So, I've been looking for better racks. Most high-end racks are very expensive and are out of my price range. The Critical Mass rack appears to be an excellent value. Their bases are more expensive and come in three price points. To my way of thinking (and my budget), if I buy the Critical Mass rack instead of the mega-buck rack, I could take the money I saved and put it towards the Critical Mass bases. From what I hear these bases are truly outstanding. I'm in the process of finalizing my order for three Critical Mass bases with Brent Rainwater.
Peter_s hi If you mean MDF pieces cut to size and drilled at each corner for threaded rod installation,like Salamander Archetype,then I've been there and done that.The thing is wobbly and unstable!!!Wasted my time and material and did not use cheap MDF but 3/4 oak veneered plywood with oak edging.Looks OK intentical to the Salamander but not stable AT ALL. My rack is made of commercial heavy gauge aluminum tubing with 3/16 thick walls.It is massive ,heavy like an elephant,if I decide to fill it up with sand it will probably be close to a ton.All hardware is stainless steel and brass.Non magnetic desighn.All connections are mechanical and not welded which is unreliable on aluminum material.All left to do is send it out for anodizing finish Best George
With respect to my not trying to make a stand because of lack of know-how, I certainly think I could manage it (my other hobby is building rustic furniture). But sounds like the efforts may be offset by the possibility of building a wobbily rack. Still looking for a possible rack to buy...could afford a critical mass rack but really do not want to invest in the platforms that sound like an integral part of that design. Am still uncertain and would welcome suggestions.
I would guess that if you can buy threaded nuts that flange out to a large diameter, you would not have problems with stability. Using large fender washers might also provide some advantage, but not as much advantage as flanged nuts.
Not that I think Achetype racks are all that stable either (nor, ulitmately, is the Synergy Twin which I own, compared with a truly stable non-adjustable rack like a Billy Bags or similar), but George's home-brew experience was undoubtedly further compromised because Salamander prefers to make the Achetype design not with MDF shelves, but solid hardwood. Personally, I've been thinking of making some replacement shelves for my Synergy, either out of hardwood (the top and bottom are already maple), or high-density particle board, or perhaps 1/2" HDPB laminated to 1/2" MDF and covered in matte black, Formica-type high-pressure laminate to create somewhat of a constrained-layer sandwich with dissimilar resonant properties (or at least a greater resistance to chipping!).
MDF has Formaldehyde in it as well, in fact it is just another form of particle board, the particles are much finer and uniform that the cheap stuff that Ikea uses for most of their furniture. This fine grade of wood waste particle allows MDF to have a "uniform tear" thus you get a great edge when you saw it. I recommend using a carbide saw blade if you do cut it because the resins that hold it together will dull most other saw blades. Zaikesman has the right idea, laminating a "Formica" type product to MDF will give it strength beyond all get out, however you can't put a nice paint finish on it after you laminate it.
Hi guys I arrive at the thread rather late,I strongly believe that the Archetype design is unstable no matter what.Having said that my copy of the Archetype is more unstable and I know why.I used rubber washers between the metal 5/8 washers and oak plywood .True it can use a little mor torque on the bolts however the archetype is NOT a stable design.For the record I used the end caps that Salamander uses instead of bolts that other hobbyists use as a compromise.I bought them from Audio Advisor as replacement parts. A good rack in my opinion is the Billy Bags.I got their reference amp stand and it is massive. My home made aluminum rack is really beyond compromise. George