Just started to do it recently - purchased 2 sets of (2x) 20 U posts with screws (threaded). If you are limited on space with regard to current layout of furniture and/or your house is fucking old and you are thereby tethered to the goddamn cable jack from fucking 1977 (or whenever they built the fucking thing)
-- save yourself the headache and take my word for it: STOP entertaining the idea.
-- I used 2x6's (trust me, dude -- the "Novelty" wears the F**k off quick-like)
-- I don't have much money either and for $50 more I could have had a 15U Server Cabinet with coasters to roll wherever the hell I wanted - (so long as the coax allowed...)
Please, and for the sake of keeping your interest in networking healthy - if you aren't at all familiar with having network gear and racking it and all the little nuanced shit that the cable gremlins/fairies have in store- you are contemplating an endeavor that is highly likely to beat you about your head and shoulder region like a wet mop.
I've owned 42U cabinet in the past and an 18U wall mount. I've also installed and cabled entire server/switch closets for DoD SCIFs...
shit- I just re-read "8U..." Put the gear on a desk if that is all you need.
Also- what kind of "learning lab?" Let me know and I might have some gear that you can have.