The purpose of a drum rack is to save drum set space and to allow maximum resonance from your drums. Drum racks save space by eliminating the need for cymbal stands, tom-tom hardware, bass drum hardware and floor-tom hardware. In addition, drum racks utilize tom mounting systems (like R.I.M.S.) allowing the drums to resonate more clearly. Finally, drum racks allow you to customize and memorize your setup for easy recollection. Prepackaged drum racks can be costly, however, and this guide will help you build your own for less.
Connect main rack piece, (either curved or straight; figure A) with T-legs (figure C) on left and right side with rack clamps. Make sure rack clamps are very tight, as they will have to hold your drums. Adjust the height of the main rack to your preference.
Connect the side rack extension piece (either curved or straight; figure B) to the T-leg (figure C) connected to the main rack piece (figure A). Now connect another T-leg to the end of the side extension. Make sure all clamps are very tight and are adjusted to your height preference.
Repeat Step 2 if you want a side extension on your left. This is not necessary and is only recommended if you have lots of extras you need room for, such as blocks, a second snare, extra cymbals, etc.
Now that the main skeleton of the rack is complete, begin to set up your tom/cymbal clamps. Make sure they are tightened and in a spot of your preference. Put on rack toms, floor tom(s) and cymbals.
Check eBay, Guitar Center's used section and other online sources for inexpensive rack pieces, parts and clamps. Pawn shops and garage sales can also be a great resource for rack pieces and parts. Look for incomplete racks to buy; people will sell them cheap and you can always add parts to your rack.
Once you master the basic rack setup experiment with other configurations such as a second bar above your main bar to hang cymbals from.
Use either memory clamps or tape to mark your rack tubes for lighting fast setup.
Make sure all clamps, cymbal booms and toms are all attached very tightly so that nothing falls or collapses.