Well, I did it. I've mounted all three flat panels (15p+24l+15p) to the extruded frame, installed RealVNC to all the PC's and Win2VNC to the center PC to allow me instant access to the side PCs by simply moving my mouse cursor into them. Preliminary pixs here (bad lighting); I'll post some more later when I get better light.
Here is a rough guide of materials (so far) and my costs:
- 147-inches of 1.5-inch x 1.5-inch extruded aluminium [~$0.75/inch; free for me]
(2) Vertical supports = 18-inches
(1) Top bar = 31.5-inches
(1) Monitor bar = 51-inches
(1) Cross bar = 28.5-inches
- (34) M8 x 1.25 T-nut; [free]
- (7) cable guides [free]
- (4) 6-inch x 1.5-inch angle bracket [~$2.50/ea @ orchard]
- (2) 8-inch x 1.5-inch angle bracket [~$4.50/ea @ orchard]
- (2) 3 hole inside corner bracket [~$3.95/ea @ 8020.net]
- (26) M8 x 16 x 1.25 bolt [~$0.50/ea @ orchard]
- (1) Pkg large adhesive vinyl pads [~$2.00 @ orchard]
- (3) LA-17 Articulating VESA-compliant flat panel mounts [~$36.00/ea @ CyberGuys.com]
The mounts are pretty heavy duty (u-joint looks like forged steel) and can support the weight of my 24-inch monitor just fine. I was a bit sceptical before I bought them as there were no specs on the weight the bracket could support.
So for ~$160 (2/3rds of this was the the mounts alone), I've built a completely adjustable 3 monitor desk stand that can support any monitor configuration and is easily 10 times stronger than what I would have got if I paid the $275 to get the prefab-ed stand.
Now that I've the three PC's working as one desktop, it's time to look into speeding up the network pipeline that connects all of them together. Currently, I'm running 100 as the router I have maxs at that. There are 1000 (gigabit) routers out there but as of this writting there are only 2 companies producing wireless gigabit routers for home use: D-Link's DGL-4300 and Netgear RangeMax Next. Prices aren't that bad, ranging around $120. Why is it they still only put 4 ports on these things...I need at least 6 :-)
Now comes the hardest part...coming up with individual names for the triad of workstations: they should be trendy, associated in some way, and uber-geeky. Any ideas? I'm looking for suggestions; email me.
Addendum: 1.5 inch 80/20 seems to go for about $0.75 an inch. If I had to buy all the extruded myself (as opposed to using the scrap I got for free), it would've added $110.25 to the total cost. Granted, the pre-fab'ed stand is $120, so I saved ~$10 plus mine is stronger and more modular. ;-) [patting self on back]