Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

1U rackmount chassis side extrusion source?

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There are several manufacturers out there which make rackmount enclosures which use a extrusion down both sides to hold the entire case together.   The top, bottom, front and rear of the case are standard sheet metal pieces.   Growing the case in any dimension (other than thickness which is set by the extrusion) is just a matter of cutting the extrusion and the sheet metal to the correct length - something that anyone with a way to cut metal in a precision manner can do.  No bending necessary.

For a product I'm developing I'd love to be able to use this style of enclosure manufacturing to both save shipping costs (since the extrusions and other panels can be shipped flat), and also to provide flexibility in customization, since getting flat sheets of metal cut to a drawing (including holes) is a lot easier than finding a manufacturer who can build rackmount enclosures.   I'd like to be able to buy just the extrusions and source my own 'flat stock'.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a source for these extrusions which will sell them to me without the entire enclosure to go with (with one exception, but they were really pricey) - which eliminates a lot of the benefit of the extrusion as a simple construction material which I can then add my own flat stock to.

Does anyone have an idea where to source these extrusions in a relatively high volume  - I'd expect to use something on the order of 150 linear feet (~45 linear meters) of extrusion per month if things go like I would expect them to.

Some sample pictures/diagrams to better show what I'm talking about:



What, like this?


It's available in 1U and 2U height. I've used it for Amp enclosures using flat top and bottom plates. It takes self tapping screws in the ends and from above/below.

Here's the 2U one to give you a better idea of the profile:


You don't have your country flag set, but hopefully you can find a Penn-Elcom distributor.

If you are willing to work a little, then I d suggest look for an aluminium extrusion supplier for the side pieces.
You get them in a variety of shapes and heights.

If you are okay with a plain look, then look for "U channel extrusions" or if you want something fancy then look for "moulding extrusions".
They are fairly common in modular furniture, so sourcing them shouldn't be much of a problem.
Maybe thats where you should look, at a furniture maker sources and not directly at enclosures or such. Just a thought.

Of course then remains the issue of the top and bottom plates. You can either choose MS or go with aluminium depending on your requirements.

A German supplier, probably they will do export, but no english website  :-// :

A 42mm extrusion (close enough to 1U = 44.15mm, anyway nice to have a mm room for guiderails etc.):
(available in 3m long pieces, too).

They also have a 2U 88.3mm extrusion which I am using:


I suspect that a lot of what you see is a custom extrusion. They are surprisingly cheap to tool up. You order a few thousand meters of extrusion and the tooling gets lost in the roundoff error.



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