Chassis Plans

Custom Rackmount Computer Systems


Schlumberger Custom Oil Field 4U Rackmount SystemChassis Plans' design philosophy is to provide exceptionally engineered, cost effective rugged industrial computers at a competitive price.  Chassis Plans provides turnkey solutions of custom industrial rackmount systems, allowing clients to have quality industrial chassis with minimal investment in time or money.

• On-time
• On-budget
• Technically sophisticated
• Turn Key
• Incredibly well documented

Chassis Plans' designs are superior to any others on the market.  We've been doing this since 1985 and have designed more systems than any other design team. We offer no unnecessary fluff.  Features are often added to others chassis to inflate the system specifications, not because it improves the design.  Many of these features are of questionable benefit and several are actually detrimental.  As required, features can easily be added to our chassis designs to include system monitors, speaker amplifiers, and shock mount drives. Real features, signs of excellent design talent, such as hidden hinges, two-screw lid removal, adaptability, door and seam overlaps, safety/emission compliance, front accessible filters, cooling analysis, low cost, serviceability, and just plain good looks are standard with all Chassis Plans' designs. See our White Papers on cooling and noise, shock and vibration, and others for some additional design background.

Chassis Plans' designs are cost effective. We are dedicated to specifying, engineering, manufacturing and integrating the products that fit your budget and standards, providing reliability, during and after the sale. Whether you need a turnkey solution or specialized design, Chassis Plans will meet the excellence you demand for your products.

All components such as fans, power supplies, drive cages, etc., are easily accessible for quick removal and repair.  All purchased components have short lead times and the designs are easily modified to suit customer component requirements (handles, locks, etc.).

Chassis Plans' fast response time and skill will help make your ideas and requirements a reality. From idea, to prototype, testing and large production runs, we are your industrial computer source.  Testing for agency approvals such as CE, UL, MIL Spec and FCC can all be handled by our staff. Chassis Plans' designs are guaranteed to be error free and to meet commercial agency certification requirements.

The Design Process

Lockheed Custom 1U Drive EnclosureSo what's involved in manufacturing a custom enclosure? It's just a a bunch of sheet metal - right?
Chassis Plans Manufacturing Documentation Package provides a highly detailed set of drawings and other information required to fabricate manufactured parts, purchase components, and assemble a high quality industrial chassis. There are no short cuts; all these steps are required.

All designs are done in Solidworks 3D CAD. Concept drawings for customer approval may be done in Autocad 2D for expediency. Both packages have advantages and disadvantages. The end result, however, is a highly documented design that is easy to manufacture and is highly sustainable.

arrowThe Customer Proposal Drawing
The first step is to communicate with the customer what we think they want. The customer drawing is a quick but detailed representation as to what the chassis will look like and how everything goes together. The drawing is accurately scaled and well detailed. This assures both us and the customer that all the parts will fit, there is adequate cooling, and the product appearance is what is desired.
Sample Custom Rackmount Drawing

arrowThe Model

The engineer constructs a completely detailed 3D model or layout of the desired chassis in Solidworks. Each of the parts of the chassis is drawn on it's own layer so that any fit and interference problems can be determined. Once the design is finalized and perfect, each of the component parts is extracted to its own drawing and detailed as shown below.
Autocad Drawing for Custom Rackmount Computer System
Autocad 2D Orthographic Layout

Solidworks Drawing for Rugged Custom Rack Mount Computer
Solidworks Model

Note: clicking the above Solidworks image will open an email where you can request this eDrawing. This requires the free Solidworks e-drawing viewer available at to view.

arrowSheet Metal Detail Drawings
These are accurately scaled CAD drawings providing all detail and manufacturing information for each fabricated sheet metal part in a chassis. The drawings are provided as files to the sheet metal vendor to generate the machine program. The drawing is also printed to provide inspection information. Any change to the drawing once released for production requires a new revision to both the drawing and the BOM.
Example Rackmount Sheed Metal Drawing

arrow Assembly Drawings
An isometric pictorial of each of the subassemblies and completed chassis shows the relationship of each of the parts including required hardware. Multiple views are provided for clarity as required. These drawings are used by the manufacturing group to assure every chassis is assembled to the same standard and that "tribal knowledge" is not required for chassis assembly.
Example Rackmount Assembly Drawing

arrow Step-By-Step Assembly Instructions
While a picture is worth a thousand words, detailed instructions and pictures assure the chassis is correctly assembled in the least time. These instructions simply clarify the assembly drawings.
Example Rackmount Drawing

1) Install Fans (item 35) and Fan Guards (item 36) onto Fan Panel (item 6) using 6-32 x 5/8" Screws (item 43) secured by 6-32 Nuts (item 44). Note direction of air flow. Position fans with leads at bottom.

NOTE: Do not over torque nuts as this can break the fan housing

2) Install Reset Switch (item 31) from front and press into place. For consistency, install switch so that pushing on the left side of the switch is the reset position

arrowBill Of Material
A complete listing of each of the fabricated and purchased parts giving an item number related to the assembly drawing, description, unique part number, and required quantity. Special notes are included as required. All items, both manufactured and purchased, are controlled by revision.

Example Rackmount BOM

arrowSource Control Drawings
This is the document used by the purchasing department to procure purchased components. Included is complete vendor information with company name, address and phone numbers. Vendor part numbers are provided. Where applicable, multiple vendors are listed allowing price shopping and alternative sources. Known pricing information is also provided. This guarantees the correct parts are purchased at competitive prices.

Sample Rackmount Drawing

arrow Shop Instructions
Instructions and assumptions the chassis fabricator should understand. Having this information up front prevents mistakes and misunderstandings.

Sample Rackmount Drawing

arrow Integration Documentation
Integration DocumentThe hallmark of a professional integration department is shipment-to-shipment consistency. Chassis Plans utilizes extensive system integration documentation to assure that the 500th system is exactly identical to the first. There is no 'tribal knowledge' involved in how a system is put together and it does not matter which Integration Technician is assigned to any particular project. You are invited to download a typical Integration Document (3.2M PDF) for review.