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This project had a huge response on the internet, I upgraded it and created Mark II afterward.
I don’t want to forget about Mark I thought. Below I’ll explain key characteristics and share the links with models for 3D printing including recommendations.
Let me start with an explanation. Why would I need Raspberry Pi server? Point is that Raspberry Pi uses ARM architecture, not a standard x86-64 PC one. ARM becomes more and more popular nowadays due to mobile devices’ usage (smartphones and tablets mostly use ARM), higher efficiency, lower energy consumption and heat release. Performance stands really close to similar x86-64 CPUs. You can take new iPad, for example. Apple is going to switch to their own processors build on ARM architecture in near future. Lots of use cases and potential.
You would need to recompile an application or even build it from scratch in order to be able to use it with different architecture. And strangely enough, servers build on ARM are quite raw for now. Saying all this with competence.
You can emulate ARM on x86-64 for sure, but this will lead to drop in efficiency and no emulation would be ideal. Very often something built on emulator will fail in real conditions.
It was decided to order an ARM server (Thunder X2) for TeamCity (build-server with constant integration used for testing and development). While all the financial questions were under consideration, we’ve decided to build our own model with colleagues. I went to Thingiverse website and found several models used to mount Raspberry Pi. After first prints it was clear that there were many aspects of the model that I would do differently. In the end I had to spend few days to combine different STL files in order to make complete model for further modifications.
We definitely needed fast and reliable drive, therefore required mount for SSD drive was developed as well.
In regards to the hardware we’ve decided on Raspberry Pi 4 4GB (latest at the moment) and Samsung T5 500 Gb SSD drive (optimal solution in regards to ease of usage, mount, speed and price). For power delivery and cooling each Raspberry module is put into PoE shield.
Complete list of used details:
- 8x Raspberry Pi 4 4GB
- 8x Samsung T5 512Gb (or 12 Raspberry and no SSD)
- 8x Raspberry Pi PoE HAT
- 8x 7.5 mm high radiators for Raspberry Pi processor for example
- 8x SanDisk High Endurance Video Monitoring, White 32GB
- PoE switch
- 3x 5M Threaded rods ~455mm
- 6x 5M nuts
- 44x M2.5*12mm (32 for 8 Raspberry and 12 for Samsung T5)
- 12x M2 nuts (more nuts for Samsung T5)
- 1x 12v power supply
- 5x 12v PC 80mm fans Arctic F8 Value Pack, ACFAN0 0061 A
- 1x 3Pin to 6x 3Pin Molex (6x15cm) cord used to connect all the fans
Due to high temperatures (promised by tests from internet) and size of SSD drives I separated rack into 12 sections. 4 of which are used to store SSD in pairs and other 8 for Raspberry Pi modules. Whole construction can be used to store 12 Raspberry Pi modules without SSD drives, too.
Models for 3D printing were developed in a such a way, that you won’t need much of post-processing afterwards, meaning reduced amount of support structures or no support at all (where applicable). Models are optimised to be printed in groups and printer can be left for 8-12 hours.
For those who are willing to replicate the rack I need to say that models were made excluding possible printing errors. Printer or slicer needs to be set to 1:1 printing scale. In my case I had to modify horizontal expansion (-0.1mm) in Cura slicer, but you might have it differently. I suggest to print few details and see whether they fit each other and compare real size with the model.
List of elements for printing:
- 12x trays
- 12x trays faces
- 1x base short
- 11x base
- 20x Fan fix
- 1x rack mount bracket left (or short version)
- 1x rack mount bracket right (or short version)
In case you would like to use Samsung T5 drives as I did, print following details as well:
- 4x Samsung T5 holder back
- 4x Samsung T5 holder front
Another important moment to notice – use thread locks for every carved connection, including PoE shield. Manufacturer avoided this small detail, unfortunately.
Use hot glue to lock fan cord for PoE shield.
Here’s a small video I made in regards to server rack assembly:
Download files for printing:
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I’m a systems engineer in JetBrains company. Uptime Lab founder. I’m glad to see you on my website! I hope you find my content useful. Please subscribe to my Instagram and Twitter. I post the newest updates there.