When easy becomes hard; Go MacGyver

Today I had to install a switch in a rack, sounds easy right 🙂

The first issue was that there was only 1u of space available and the slot did not have cage nuts installed. Even with the sides off the rack ears were still in the way, and if you ever installed cage nuts you know they are installed from behind. Then I watched this nice trick on YouTube using this tool “Cage nut puller”.

As you watch the video @ the 9 second mark you can see installing the nut and his hands are taking up roughly 3u of rack space, and even then, he mentions that it’s not recommended and difficult. However, I don’t have this tool.

I figured I would just unmount the old switch (as it was being replaced) and use the existing cage nuts there. When I went to remove it, there was a PDU in the way, and I didn’t have a stubby Robinson available, ended up using the bit and a wrench, but the head was stripped. After a while ended up having to use the wrench right on the screw head to get it off, how did the head get stripped you make ask? Well, I guess when it was installed by the previous tech the screws were cross threaded into the nuts (not proper thread screw). When I went to remove the last screw right before the screw got loose, the cage nut popped out of the rack ear…. So, I had to get a colleague to use the plyers to hold the old cage not in place, while I finished unscrewing it. Pretty crazy how long this took considering how long it should have taken.

So even the plan to use the existing cage nuts was useless since they had been cross threaded. I still didn’t have the tool I needed, so I ended up looking around the filing room, and I found a lanyard with a metal card clip, the metal “arms” that hold the card looked exactly like the end of the tool mentioned in the YT video. So I ended up using the concrete in the stairwell to grind down the pivot arm that was holding both parts together, then used plyers to flatten the ends to make the base of the cage nut puller tool.

Here’s a clip of me using this MacGyver’d tool to replace the cage nuts, well the clip is using it to install the cage nut after the old one had been removed. The snaping sound is soooo satisfying.