With the release of Apple Silicon (M1), software developers had to develop  builds for this platform and automated testing of the written code. It is impossible to build a virtual machine on an x86 platform (for example, a server based on an Intel processor) for these purposes. Moreover, the virtual machine will show itself very badly in performance tests (the results are floating). The only way out in mid-2021 is a Mac mini with an M1 processor.

In medium and large companies, one or two Mac minis are not enough for this purpose. A whole farm is needed. In this article, I will not touch on the software part. Let me just say that these Mac minis are used as part of the TeamCity CI / CD system.

After a few tests, I found out that the new Mac mini doesn’t really heat up much (~ 30W). And I decided that in a server room with air conditioning, you can place them quite a lot and tightly. As practice has shown, it is so.

My idea was to make the stand as simple and cheap as possible, so that I could repeat it in other offices if necessary. Therefore, instead of doing everything from scratch, I used ready-made shelves from Amazon and developed fasteners for Mac mini that are convenient to assemble and print on a 3D printer.

You will need:

Models for 3D printing can be downloaded here:

On Github the most current version and sources are available:

An important tip for printing: I recommend that you first print 2 models and check how they fit together. If your printer does not print 1:1 then you may need to set horizontal expansion in the slicer. In my case, I set it to “-0.1mm”.

My print settings:

  • 0.15 layer
  • 10% coverage
  • horizontal expansion -0.1
  • no supports
  • no skirt

The details do not require post-processing at all.

The assembly is generally simple: holes are drilled in the shelf where necessary, and then everything is tightened by wide ties. The main thing – do not forget to process the holes so that the screeds do not deteriorate on sharp edges.

The socket strips are mounted approximately in the middle of the whole build. You can use an IEC socket strip and custom cables, but it will be more expensive than using the original Mac mini cable and Type F socket strip | CEE7 / 7.


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Chris Weiss
Chris Weiss
10 months ago

Would it be worth putting a shallow rackmount 24port 10GBe switch on end between the two rows of minis to clean up cabling/make the unit even more ‘modular’?