With an iMac soon to replace my Mac Pro, I’ve had to set up some external disks to take care of extra storage and backup needs. Most hard disk enclosures contain fans and are a bit noisy, so I decided to move them to a place where I won’t be able to hear them: in the floor beneath my desk. As was done back when I had a fibre channel disk array in the basement I’m running a cable through the wall and floor, except this time the drives will be located sitting on an acoustically dampened (with neoprene) shelf, and connected via Firewire / IEEE1394b.
To build the shelf I used 1/2″ birch plywood and applied neoprene to most of it using contact cement (picture). A space was left for an APC Back-UPS ES (BE550G) which will be used to provide power to the disk enclosures (picture). The space above where the shelf will fit was then lined with the remaining neoprene, stapled in place using my Dad’s staple gun (picture). The board was then screwed in place using a number of drywall screws, with them concentrated around the UPS end, as it will bear more weight (picture). With a layer of neoprene between the base and the joists I didn’t tighten the screws down fully, as this should provide some additional isolation between the board and the floor.
I expect that once they are located on the shelf I will not be able to hear the fan in the rather noisy Vantec NexStar NST-400MX-UFB or the disk access in either it or the Macally PHR-100ACB. This will make for a nicely quiet computing experience in my office, with plenty of room to fit more Firewire disk enclosures should the iMac need additional expansion.