DIY Desktop Rack for Axe FX 3

Jarick

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I've been kicking around this idea for a bit, and think I may give it a shot over the next week or two.

I want a desktop rack space for my Axe FX 3 that would also double as a stand for my studio monitors and computer monitor. Also want a place to stow away my laptop(s), audio interface, etc. The off the shelf products are pretty expensive, about $350-400 on up. But I could get the materials to make one for under $50 so why not give it a shot?

The Axe 3 is a 3U unit so I'm thinking of basically making basically a box with space for two 3U devices side by side. I'd put rack rails on one side and then on the other I may leave it empty or add a simple shelf divider. Since the Axe 3 is about 10" deep, I'm thinking of getting a 1" x 12" x 8' pine board (good quality). All the pieces would be the same depth, so I just have to cut to length. For this one I'd just do simple joints, glued and screwed. Maybe a simple Minwax stain or something, not too concerned about looks.

I ordered the rack rails off Amazon for about $15 shipped. I can pick up the board for about $15 at the hardware store, then another $20 for stain, screws, and rubber feet.

Some inspiration:

3-space-double-pine-lightbrown.jpg




il_1588xN.3057817609_gxco.jpg




https%3A%2F%2Fsiteleaf.grovemade.com%2Fuploads%2Fgrovemade-desk-shelf-system-callout-walnut-A1.jpg
 
I always calculate some value for my work when thinking "I could build one myself". Of course sometimes the work is part of the fun so it's not necessarily a bad thing to spend a lot of time building something to your liking.

If you want to build a rack shelf, note that the Axe-Fx 3 does not really like to be angled. With the stock fan and a Noctua, tilting it makes the fan much more noisy. You could probably dampen it and whatnot but fans generally work best at 90 degree angle.

For me the big problem with the setup you propose is displays. I like to use big displays on my computer and I like to have them set up ergonomically, like this:

AdobeStock_144114894.jpg


This poses some problems because usually the display then sits low enough to obscure the Axe-Fx or it needs to be much higher up which means posture suffers. Even with a monitor arm there was no great way to setup the Axe-Fx 3 on my desk so I put it on a side desk instead. Another thing I don't really like is having to plug in stuff in the front inputs of my audio interface, though you could get around that with a patchbay.

I'd probably at least consider if you could have a bookshelf type rack on the side instead of on the desk.

PS. If you want a dead easy way to make dowel joints, Wolfcraft Dowel Master works really great. I used it to make a headshell for a Bogner and it turned out pretty perfect with no screws in sight.
 
Thanks for the feedback Laxu!

I think from a height standpoint it should be fine. Currently my monitor is actually lower than I'd prefer as my eyes are just over the top of it, but the stand won't go any higher. I can drop my desk a couple inches as well, so I think it will work out. If not, I could get a monitor arm that would position it just over the rack.

For the Axe FX, I'm not planning to angle it at all, so no worries there. I picked up a mixer stand to try and mount it off to the side but it's really bulky and doesn't come close enough to the desk like I wanted. I've tried other shelves and stands to the side or under my desk, but really want to try a desk top unit.

Thanks for the link on the dowel tool, maybe I'll look into that. I watched a couple good videos where a guy built studio racks, one where he built a simple one and one where he built it nicer. If I can get the dowel tool for about $25 maybe it's worth giving that a shot for a little cleaner look.



 
I've been kicking around this idea for a bit, and think I may give it a shot over the next week or two.

I want a desktop rack space for my Axe FX 3 that would also double as a stand for my studio monitors and computer monitor. Also want a place to stow away my laptop(s), audio interface, etc. The off the shelf products are pretty expensive, about $350-400 on up. But I could get the materials to make one for under $50 so why not give it a shot?

The Axe 3 is a 3U unit so I'm thinking of basically making basically a box with space for two 3U devices side by side. I'd put rack rails on one side and then on the other I may leave it empty or add a simple shelf divider. Since the Axe 3 is about 10" deep, I'm thinking of getting a 1" x 12" x 8' pine board (good quality). All the pieces would be the same depth, so I just have to cut to length. For this one I'd just do simple joints, glued and screwed. Maybe a simple Minwax stain or something, not too concerned about looks.

I ordered the rack rails off Amazon for about $15 shipped. I can pick up the board for about $15 at the hardware store, then another $20 for stain, screws, and rubber feet.

Some inspiration:

3-space-double-pine-lightbrown.jpg




il_1588xN.3057817609_gxco.jpg




https%3A%2F%2Fsiteleaf.grovemade.com%2Fuploads%2Fgrovemade-desk-shelf-system-callout-walnut-A1.jpg
From my experience using my Axe III in my Output Platform desk, be mindful of the space between the 6 knobs and the desktop surface. In the Platform, the rack units almost sit on the desktop, and with the Fractal, that meant I couldn't grab the under-screen knobs very well and was kind of left spinning them just from the top. Having a piece of 3/4" ply between the bottom of the Axe and the desktop is likely enough, but test that out before committing to a design.
 
I've been kicking around this idea for a bit, and think I may give it a shot over the next week or two.

I want a desktop rack space for my Axe FX 3 that would also double as a stand for my studio monitors and computer monitor. Also want a place to stow away my laptop(s), audio interface, etc. The off the shelf products are pretty expensive, about $350-400 on up. But I could get the materials to make one for under $50 so why not give it a shot?

The Axe 3 is a 3U unit so I'm thinking of basically making basically a box with space for two 3U devices side by side. I'd put rack rails on one side and then on the other I may leave it empty or add a simple shelf divider. Since the Axe 3 is about 10" deep, I'm thinking of getting a 1" x 12" x 8' pine board (good quality). All the pieces would be the same depth, so I just have to cut to length. For this one I'd just do simple joints, glued and screwed. Maybe a simple Minwax stain or something, not too concerned about looks.

I ordered the rack rails off Amazon for about $15 shipped. I can pick up the board for about $15 at the hardware store, then another $20 for stain, screws, and rubber feet.

Some inspiration:

3-space-double-pine-lightbrown.jpg




il_1588xN.3057817609_gxco.jpg




https%3A%2F%2Fsiteleaf.grovemade.com%2Fuploads%2Fgrovemade-desk-shelf-system-callout-walnut-A1.jpg
(Also, if you don't already have a pocket screw jig, it's probably worth getting to build this - also comes in handy if you wanna make some cheap diy acoustic panels filled with roxul insulation.)
 
From my experience using my Axe III in my Output Platform desk, be mindful of the space between the 6 knobs and the desktop surface. In the Platform, the rack units almost sit on the desktop, and with the Fractal, that meant I couldn't grab the under-screen knobs very well and was kind of left spinning them just from the top. Having a piece of 3/4" ply between the bottom of the Axe and the desktop is likely enough, but test that out before committing to a design.

Good call, I think that's a big reason I want to do a cheap build initially, just to see what I like and dislike. Those little quality of life things can often be much bigger than expected.
 
I've always had trouble trying to fit the Axe-Fx III on a desk without it getting in the way. At one point I had a shelf that I made where the Axe-FX III was underneath and one of my studio monitors was on top. I made a smaller one for the other studio monitor. My computer monitor had to be directly on the desk otherwise it would be way too high. I don't have any photos of that setup, but my current solution is to have the computer monitor on an adjustable arm and have it just above the Axe-FX. Studio monitors are on some DIY stands that I made out of scrap materials. This is on a sit/stand desk.
PXL_20230413_151944489.jpg
 
I've always had trouble trying to fit the Axe-Fx III on a desk without it getting in the way. At one point I had a shelf that I made where the Axe-FX III was underneath and one of my studio monitors was on top. I made a smaller one for the other studio monitor. My computer monitor had to be directly on the desk otherwise it would be way too high. I don't have any photos of that setup, but my current solution is to have the computer monitor on an adjustable arm and have it just above the Axe-FX. Studio monitors are on some DIY stands that I made out of scrap materials. This is on a sit/stand desk.
View attachment 6420

That's good feedback too.

I did try that when I first had my Axe FX but the arm I had would wobble a lot so I abandoned it. The current arm I have is solid and screws down rather than always adjustable, but it doesn't go high enough. So I may see if I can find something similar that is taller if the monitor on the stand is too tall.

The monitors I have are Genelec 8020's and they are smaller, so having them up in the air would be helpful to get closer to ears. Right now they are on 3" isolation stands but still a few inches too low. So again I think the ~ 6-7" of the desktop rack would be helpful there too.
 
Should be a fun project for sure! For some more inspirado...

I built 2 racks about 15+ years ago. I used the standard cab carpet on mine. The one on the left had an open slant top for my mixer.

RioFso7.jpeg


Years later as my setup (and location) changed, I combined both racks into a side car setup, and my helix sits beautifully on the original slant top.

pOXWVpJ.jpeg

31GQq81.jpeg


Also, if your desk is against the wall like mine, I highly recommend mounting the monitor to the wall. It doesn't shake when you're pounding on the keyboard and or midi controller, very nice.
 
Good call, I think that's a big reason I want to do a cheap build initially, just to see what I like and dislike. Those little quality of life things can often be much bigger than expected.
Getting the reach distance right is another small qol things to think about if you're go going diy. I wish my Helix Rack was a touch closer to me (5'8", normal length arms).
 
Getting the reach distance right is another small qol things to think about if you're go going diy. I wish my Helix Rack was a touch closer to me (5'8", normal length arms).

Yeah I was thinking the same thing too. I'm 5'7" so I could see that being annoying.

It's entirely possible I build this thing and hate it, so that's another upside of not spending much on the initial build anyway.

One other thing I want to be able to do is occasionally use a laptop in front of the monitor, so again having some extra height on the monitor would be nice. That's good for when I am doing some development work, or if I want to have my personal laptop up while working.

Also, if your desk is against the wall like mine, I highly recommend mounting the monitor to the wall. It doesn't shake when you're pounding on the keyboard and or midi controller, very nice.

Looks great, thanks for posting!

I actually just got a basic wall mount for a TV, but ended up deciding to get a TV stand for it when I redid my basement the last month or so. So I do have an extra mount doing nothing, will think about that.

Here's the desk arm I'm using now, it actually is really stable. I've been told I'm a really loud typer and ditched the other floating style mount quickly. No shake with this one, but it doesn't go tall enough, so that's annoying.
 
Yeah I was thinking the same thing too. I'm 5'7" so I could see that being annoying.

It's entirely possible I build this thing and hate it, so that's another upside of not spending much on the initial build anyway.

One other thing I want to be able to do is occasionally use a laptop in front of the monitor, so again having some extra height on the monitor would be nice. That's good for when I am doing some development work, or if I want to have my personal laptop up while working.



Looks great, thanks for posting!

I actually just got a basic wall mount for a TV, but ended up deciding to get a TV stand for it when I redid my basement the last month or so. So I do have an extra mount doing nothing, will think about that.

Here's the desk arm I'm using now, it actually is really stable. I've been told I'm a really loud typer and ditched the other floating style mount quickly. No shake with this one, but it doesn't go tall enough, so that's annoying.
Nice!

Looks like that desk arm can be wall mounted as well, if you go that route :guiness
 
I ran to the hardware store and picked up supplies yesterday morning, then spent much of the day putting it together. Nearly finished, hopefully will have it done tonight. Still have to stain the insides, finish sanding/buffing the exterior, and mount the rack rails.

Definitely not a furniture grade shelf, but it will be functional. I had no power tools so picked up a circular saw and while it worked pretty well, my cuts weren't super straight, even after sanding the edges. I tried to drill pilot holes for all the screws but they didn't really line up great so I had to sand the heck out of it to cover up the mistakes. But it looks alright I think.

52824914698_6d191e0ae7_b.jpg
 
I ran to the hardware store and picked up supplies yesterday morning, then spent much of the day putting it together. Nearly finished, hopefully will have it done tonight. Still have to stain the insides, finish sanding/buffing the exterior, and mount the rack rails.

Definitely not a furniture grade shelf, but it will be functional. I had no power tools so picked up a circular saw and while it worked pretty well, my cuts weren't super straight, even after sanding the edges. I tried to drill pilot holes for all the screws but they didn't really line up great so I had to sand the heck out of it to cover up the mistakes. But it looks alright I think.

52824914698_6d191e0ae7_b.jpg
If you want to cut straight with a circular saw, definitely need to clamp (or screw if possible) a straight edge piece of wood to the piece you want to cut as a guide to run the swa edge against.

Looks totally serviceable for the task at hand!
 
This thread is interesting… I’ve had my eye on that piece of furniture built to order… It’s a little on the spendy side, but my wife would like me to rack up the shit.

I like the dovetail version a lot

Well done!
 
I know you’re already in motion on this, but if you want a pre-built that won’t break the bank, this is the desk I have and it’s excellent. It has 2 20 space racks (i think 20, I haven’t counted) on either side and a 5 space on top it comes with. You can buy additional rack rails and add a second 5 space in the section next to it:


I’ve seen Leon Todd, Keith Merrow, and a bunch of other guys use the same desk over the years. Yeah it’s pressed wood IKEA-style but it works really well.
 
If you want to cut straight with a circular saw, definitely need to clamp (or screw if possible) a straight edge piece of wood to the piece you want to cut as a guide to run the swa edge against.

Looks totally serviceable for the task at hand!

I almost got one of those straight edge guide tools but figured I'd go as is. Honestly I don't know if I've used a circular saw in 20 years, if ever!

I think if I did again, I'd definitely get the guide, and then I'd do the dowel as well and make sure the edges are more square. Maybe a more powerful sander for leveling? I also need to figure out how to keep the pieces square while gluing and screwing it together.

But yeah it should work just fine as a working prototype.
 
I know you’re already in motion on this, but if you want a pre-built that won’t break the bank, this is the desk I have and it’s excellent. It has 2 20 space racks (i think 20, I haven’t counted) on either side and a 5 space on top it comes with. You can buy additional rack rails and add a second 5 space in the section next to it:


I’ve seen Leon Todd, Keith Merrow, and a bunch of other guys use the same desk over the years. Yeah it’s pressed wood IKEA-style but it works really well.

The Axe 3 is the only piece of rack gear I have (and really amp planning to have), so I don't need a lot of storage. I definitely had my eye on a lot of different desks, but haven't found anything that really looks ideal.

I wanted something that I could put on a sit-stand desk as well, in case I go that route.
 
The Axe 3 is the only piece of rack gear I have (and really amp planning to have), so I don't need a lot of storage. I definitely had my eye on a lot of different desks, but haven't found anything that really looks ideal.

I wanted something that I could put on a sit-stand desk as well, in case I go that route.
I hear you. What I do with mine is I have my PC on one side and I put a few rack drawers on the other, then my minimal rack gear goes in the panel under the monitors.

Considering what’s happening with Waves right now, if I have to pay for their Pultec EQ one more time, I’m just going to get the Warm Audio hardware version and call it a day. So I have the room to expand if I want/need to.
 
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