For those of us who constantly have to work with racks, both in the IT world and the AVL world, cage nuts are a necessary evil. If you don’t know what a cage nut is and why they’ve been the bane of many a system techs existence, check this picture out.
That little innocent looking thing in between 23 and 24 is a cage nut. A cage nut is a nut that has springy arms around 2 sides that lock it into the square holes on a rack.
Why People Hate Cage Nuts
Putting them in by hand instead of using pliers gets to be an exercise in frustration, especially when you’ve got a full rack.
I can’t tell you the number of times these suckers sprung out of the hole and disappeared somewhere in the deep recesses of the rack never to be found again.
Taking them out is a whole other realm of hell. You have to use a small flat-bladed screwdriver to release the wings. Then the thing will spring out of the hole and…see above. Often when you release the cage nuts, the wings are so flimsy it seems that they’re meant for one-time use.
On top of all of this, there’s the not too big of a problem (ha ha) of attempting to balance whatever piece of hardware that you need to secure to the rack, while you’re putting in the rack screws to secure it.
A Better Solution: Rackstuds
Along comes the company Rackstuds (www.rackstuds.com), a New Zealand company that came up with a brilliant idea! What if, instead of cage nuts, you created a stud assembly?
Sometimes, some things are so simple and effective you wonder why we’ve ever done things any other way!
Rackstuds are color-coded, non-conducting fiber thermoplastic studs that have incredible strength (156 kgs or 343 lbs). They can be installed in any rack with EIA square-punched holes of 9.33mm and 9.8mm variations. They can be installed and removed without any tools and they make installation of rack components a breeze.
This is what the two different versions look like with their components. There are 3 parts to each Rackstud. The stud itself (red ones work with most racks, blue ones with thicker rails), the keeper (yellow) and the nut (black).
Installing them is easy.
- Insert the stud sideways into the square rack hole.
- Snap the Yellow keeper over the stud.
- Install the equipment.
- Tighten the nut.
I borrowed the next 3 pictures from their site to show the installation process.
Rackstuds even has instructions and a video tutorial on their site to help you out: https://rackstuds.com/tutorials/
Here’s their video:
Testing these, it took me less than half my normal time to install and hang equipment as opposed to using cage nuts. And, thanks to Rackstuds, my vocabulary while I’m installing rack equipment will stay G-rated!
Rackstuds especially shined in a rack that only has one rack unit space left and I needed to fit something into it.
Downsides? Only one and it’s not really a downside other than aesthetic. If you’re adding Rack Studs to an existing rack that uses cage nuts, the yellow keeper will stick out by a couple of millimeters so that piece of equipment won’t sit flush against the rack rails, like the others.
Pricing is comparable to quality cage nut assemblies, perhaps a few bucks more. For me, totally worth it. You can buy them through Amazon or other locations:
Get Them for Free
For a short time, Rackstuds is having a limited giveaway just for Behind the Mixer readers. You can get one of the following:
- 4-pack (up to 20 packs to be given away)
- 100-pack of red (1 pack)
- 100-pack of blue (1 pack)
To be entered, you must tweet out the below:
Check out Rackstuds - no more wasted time with cage nuts and rack mounting! @rackstuds https://rackstuds.com/ Click To Tweet
Thought? Questions? Comments?