z-rack - d.School

Easy-to-build dry-erase
surfaces transform the
working style of a space.
Tools_Z-Rack
Writing
surface
5'
Horizontal rails:
Widths greater
than 5' become
unwieldy;
less than 5' cuts
usable space.
Matches base
dimension.
z-rack
One of the most enduring artifacts in
the d.school, the Z-Rack, is actually a
modified garment rack. When outfitted
with a common construction material—
showerboard—the Z-Rack becomes a
deployable dry-erase surface.
This model is a fraction of the cost
of a typical rolling dry-erase board,
super-sturdy, easy to build, and large
enough to act as a partition in the work
space. The Z-Rack is great for subdividing large areas and creating differently
scaled team work spaces.
make space
Vertical rails:
We have found 6' 6"
to be the maximum
height to balance
usability for most
sizes of people,
optimizing usable
space, and creating
a nonintimidating
surface.
6'
Standard garment
rack base—z-shaped
for nesting.
Tools_Z-Rack
build instructions
sourcing
writing surface construction
Create a sandwich of showerboard panels laminated to a center panel of 1/2" -thick foamboard or
1
/4" plywood. The result will be a dual-sided, rigid
surface. It can be tricky to balance overall panel
stiffness with weight—the center panel should be
as stiff & light as possible.
garment (“Z”) racks
The d.school has used the 6' tall double-rail
Z-Racks with 4'- and 5'-long bases; locking
casters are available at additional cost.
Sean James Enterprises, Inc. (425 Tribble Gap
Road, Cumming, GA 30040; 888 866-9826;
www.garmentrack.com)
showerboard
Showerboard is available at most home centers
and local lumber suppliers.
Pine Cone Lumber (895 East Evelyn Avenue,
Sunnyvale, CA 94086; 408 736-5491;
www.pineconelumber.com)
foamboard
Arch Supplies (99 Missouri, San Francisco, CA
94107; 415 433-2724; www.archsupplies.com)
ULINE Shipping Supply Specialists
(800 958-5463; www.uline.com)
casters
Industrial Caster & Wheel Co. (2200 Carden
Street, San Leandro, CA 94577; 510 569-8303;
www.icwco.com). Reference Stanford d.school
red caster in 3" or 5".
California Caster and Hand Truck Company
(1400 17th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107;
800 950-8750; www.californiacaster.com)
Metal strap attachment
Don’t forget the
bottom horizontal!
This is often not
included with a
standard rack setup.
Heavy-duty
casters. Seriously...
the most robust you
can find & afford.
17
writing surface attachment
Attach the writing surface to the Z-Rack frame
using perforated galvanized steel strapping. Drill
through-holes in the writing surface and attach
at the two top & two bottom corners along the
horizontal rails.
sketches: Scott Witthoft
16
showerboard or tileboard
The surface of this standard construction material
works very well as an inexpensive and hackable
alternative to commercially produced dry-erase
surfaces. Eventually the surface will start to show
residue and “ghosting”; water and a towel work
surprisingly well for cleaning!
make space
hardware
Perforated steel strapping and flexible
steel “tape” are available at local hardware stores
and home centers.
McMaster-Carr (600 North County Line Road,
Elmhurst, IL 60126; 630 600-3600;
www.mcmaster.com)
see also
26
Tools_HACK: Showerboard Dry-Erase
Surface
58
Tools_Whiteboard Sliders
190
Tools_Writable Surfaces Everywhere