Step 1 : use what you got
This how to shows how you can use just about anything that is just "laying around" to build a compact project that almost looks store bought.
This how to is how i am setting up my first 32 channel system while deployed in iraq. I will submit pics in the pictures section of the completed system.
Start by looking around in your unused computer parts box. I had an old Surecom 16 port network switch that i wasn't using. The nice part about that is it has 48 led's that can be used as channel indicators and a master power led.