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Paul Alciatore
04-07-2019, 05:58 PM
I have one of those steel shelf units that is about two feet deep. It was a gift, not part of my original shop plan. The frame is great, solid as a rock. But the shelves are cheap, particle board or some such material, so they are sagging under the weight of the heavy items I have tried to store there: gallon jugs, belt sander, etc. So I need to replace them before they give way and I have a real mess. My first idea was to install some plywood shelves on heavy duty slides so it would be easy to get to the items there. Perhaps two half width shelves per level. But then I looked up the prices of good slides. Wow! I could spend $500 to $1000 or more on a $40 shelf unit. I don't think so.

So, I either need a better, CHEAPER idea for slides or just go with plain, non sliding plywood shelves. Any suggestions for less expensive slides or an alternative method for updating this unit would be appreciated. I don't have a budget, just a need and a desire for better storage. And a case of sticker shock.

ammcoman2
04-07-2019, 06:27 PM
Lee Valley have good quality, fair priced units. And, I believe the load ratings they publish.

Geoff

darryl
04-07-2019, 08:39 PM
Here's an idea- you can make a pair of shelves as a tandem unit. Start with an upside down U shape, made of flat bar probably- each leg has a wheel on it. The width is the same as the bottom shelf, and it becomes the 'drawer front' for the shelf. The top of this front is at the height of the second shelf, and can be locked to it. When you want to open the bottom, you turn a grip and pull. This releases the second shelf and allows the bottom shelf to come out alone. When you want the second shelf you don't turn the grip, you just pull it. Both shelves pull out together.

The back of each shelf gets a ball bearing on each side, and all you need now is a rail for it to roll on. That can be a piece of flat bar laying in the bottom of the cabinet on each side- if the cabinet has a bottom- for the bottom shelf. Next shelf up would have a pair of angle iron rails. The bearings can be skate bearings, which are cheap. The two wheels at the front could be skateboard wheels, or possibly roller blade wheels.

One drawback- you always have to open the bottom shelf when you want the second shelf open. But they are on smooth bearings so it would be an easy pull, although you would be dealing with inertia once the shelves are loaded with weight.

You're going to get about 90% extension out of this, and there is no torquing on the rails, even at near-full extension. They just bear the weight and everything rides smoothly on 'real' ball bearings. This is basically a two-shelved wheeled cart which uses a fixed cabinet to carry one end of it.

Something I've done in the past is to edge plywood with aluminum channel. This protects the edge and gives it an easy slide in a uhmw channel. It also gives strength to the plywood when a lag bolt is driven in from the side- as you might do to create an axle for a skate bearing. You would turn down the head to where the bearing is a fit over it, then saw a slot for a screwdriver blade so it can be installed.

Haven't done the math- perhaps by the time you have all this together it would have been cheaper to buy the heavy duty slides-

Illinoyance
04-07-2019, 11:19 PM
Rockler has an extensive selection of slides. I have used slides from Grizzly for heavy kitchen drawers. They worked just fine.

fixerdave
04-08-2019, 02:08 AM
If you've more time than money, and you don't need full extension, it would not be hard to copy the basic function of the standard cheap/light units with some channel and ball bearings. Basically replace the stamped steel and nylon wheels with heavy duty substitutes. The last little angle-bit they put on to keep the drawers closed might be an issue but a simple latch could solve that.

For really heavy stuff, I've done a simple version of what Darryl suggest... basically a rolling cabinet instead of a drawer. It works better than you'd expect, even with a somewhat unkempt floor. Mine is narrow and deep, with a solid front and access from one side for the lower level when pulled out. I like it. I did pay for good wheels though, and that will sticker-shock you like decent full-extension drawer slides will.

As they say... time or money.

David...

johansen
04-08-2019, 03:12 AM
full extension drawer slides are like 3$ a piece including shipping and are good for 75 pounds. that's 6$ per drawer.
https://www.amazon.com/Inches-Extension-Drawer-Slides-LSI/dp/B01A92D2ZS/ref=asc_df_B01A92D2ZS

i've bought those slides before, in 2016, have had no problems with them.

RMinMN
04-08-2019, 06:43 AM
Fasten that shelf unit to something solid before you open the first drawer with heavy items in it or you will be wearing the shelf unit and all its contents.

Hawkeye
04-08-2019, 07:34 AM
About $10.00 a set at surplus center. https://www.surpluscenter.com/shop.axd/Search?keywords=Slides+

Fasttrack
04-08-2019, 07:57 AM
Folks, it sounds to me like Paul is looking for some heavy duty slides to move an entire shelf full of shop tools... NOT a "furniture" drawer. A lot of the suggestions for cheap slides have ~100 lb. weight rating. Great for a drawer full of socks or kitchen utensils. But to support an entire shelf of "gallon jugs, belt sanders" and so on?

About $100 per pair of slides for a 24" extension 500 lb. capacity is pretty typical. If this is a 5 shelf unit, then yup... $500 easy.

Frankly, it's probably not worth the time, but you could think about building your own as others have suggested. Some cheap ball bearings from China would work as the rollers and some steel channel could be the tracks.

You could also think about making something out of Unistrut is typically pretty cheap at your local big-box home improvement store. You can buy Unistrut trolleys pretty cheap: https://www.zoro.com/zoro-select-hanger-door-track-4pe57/i/G1834445/feature-product?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4qvlBRDiARIsAHme6ot6y3aaPfrA tboYne_rknZjjwRrYTY8u_DWKVW9xKJ2OKJxoII8TeQaAo2iEA Lw_wcB

I'm not exactly sure how to get standard pieces of Unistrut and trolleys to nest properly but maybe the suggestion can spark a better idea.

(Edit: personally, I would go with fixed shelves... practically, I'm not sure how much a sliding shelf really buys you in terms of convenience. You might be better of making or buying a set of smaller drawers that can live on a fixed shelf if you have small things that might get "lost" at the back of a shelf)

mattthemuppet
04-08-2019, 03:21 PM
I used these slides (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002IM6BBU/ref=ppx_od_dt_b_asin_title_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) for my work bench drawers. Haven't had them long enough to speak to longevity, but they happily hold up draws that have some heavy stuff in the. Couple of hundred pounds of steel in one drawer, four 5 gallon buckets (each with 3-4 gallons in them) in another, tool boxes/ grinding wheels/etc in another. All slide freely without binding.

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 03:53 PM
I am still trying to wrap my head around this one. You wouldn't have a photo or two, by any chance?




Here's an idea- you can make a pair of shelves as a tandem unit. Start with an upside down U shape, made of flat bar probably- each leg has a wheel on it. The width is the same as the bottom shelf, and it becomes the 'drawer front' for the shelf. The top of this front is at the height of the second shelf, and can be locked to it. When you want to open the bottom, you turn a grip and pull. This releases the second shelf and allows the bottom shelf to come out alone. When you want the second shelf you don't turn the grip, you just pull it. Both shelves pull out together.

The back of each shelf gets a ball bearing on each side, and all you need now is a rail for it to roll on. That can be a piece of flat bar laying in the bottom of the cabinet on each side- if the cabinet has a bottom- for the bottom shelf. Next shelf up would have a pair of angle iron rails. The bearings can be skate bearings, which are cheap. The two wheels at the front could be skateboard wheels, or possibly roller blade wheels.

One drawback- you always have to open the bottom shelf when you want the second shelf open. But they are on smooth bearings so it would be an easy pull, although you would be dealing with inertia once the shelves are loaded with weight.

You're going to get about 90% extension out of this, and there is no torquing on the rails, even at near-full extension. They just bear the weight and everything rides smoothly on 'real' ball bearings. This is basically a two-shelved wheeled cart which uses a fixed cabinet to carry one end of it.

Something I've done in the past is to edge plywood with aluminum channel. This protects the edge and gives it an easy slide in a uhmw channel. It also gives strength to the plywood when a lag bolt is driven in from the side- as you might do to create an axle for a skate bearing. You would turn down the head to where the bearing is a fit over it, then saw a slot for a screwdriver blade so it can be installed.

Haven't done the math- perhaps by the time you have all this together it would have been cheaper to buy the heavy duty slides-

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 03:57 PM
I have seen some slides in that price range, but most of them didn't even have a load rating included in the specs and they did not look very heavy duty. One of the things that is presently on that shelf unit is my 10" RT with it's tailstock. I haven't weighed it, but I am fairly sure it is more than 75 pounds.




full extension drawer slides are like 3$ a piece including shipping and are good for 75 pounds. that's 6$ per drawer.
https://www.amazon.com/Inches-Extension-Drawer-Slides-LSI/dp/B01A92D2ZS/ref=asc_df_B01A92D2ZS

i've bought those slides before, in 2016, have had no problems with them.

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 03:59 PM
Yes, I do plan to tie the top to the wall. I have seen heavy file cabinets start to topple over with two or more drawers open. The good ones interlock the drawers and I may have to do something like that here.




Fasten that shelf unit to something solid before you open the first drawer with heavy items in it or you will be wearing the shelf unit and all its contents.

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 04:08 PM
Yes, you have it. This is my heavy storage area.

The shelf unit is about four feet wide and I am considering using two, two foot shelves on each level. But, of course, that doubles the number of slides and the price.

I may have to think about this for some time. But time is limited by the bow in the existing shelves.

Oh, and I am not dedicated to "full extension". Things are a lot easier if you stick to 75% or 80% extension. I think even 50% extension would be worthwhile.




Folks, it sounds to me like Paul is looking for some heavy duty slides to move an entire shelf full of shop tools... NOT a "furniture" drawer. A lot of the suggestions for cheap slides have ~100 lb. weight rating. Great for a drawer full of socks or kitchen utensils. But to support an entire shelf of "gallon jugs, belt sanders" and so on?

About $100 per pair of slides for a 24" extension 500 lb. capacity is pretty typical. If this is a 5 shelf unit, then yup... $500 easy.

Frankly, it's probably not worth the time, but you could think about building your own as others have suggested. Some cheap ball bearings from China would work as the rollers and some steel channel could be the tracks.

You could also think about making something out of Unistrut is typically pretty cheap at your local big-box home improvement store. You can buy Unistrut trolleys pretty cheap: https://www.zoro.com/zoro-select-hanger-door-track-4pe57/i/G1834445/feature-product?gclid=Cj0KCQjw4qvlBRDiARIsAHme6ot6y3aaPfrA tboYne_rknZjjwRrYTY8u_DWKVW9xKJ2OKJxoII8TeQaAo2iEA Lw_wcB

I'm not exactly sure how to get standard pieces of Unistrut and trolleys to nest properly but maybe the suggestion can spark a better idea.

(Edit: personally, I would go with fixed shelves... practically, I'm not sure how much a sliding shelf really buys you in terms of convenience. You might be better of making or buying a set of smaller drawers that can live on a fixed shelf if you have small things that might get "lost" at the back of a shelf)

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 04:13 PM
Another idea that I had was to get the less expensive, drawer slides, perhaps with a 100 pound rating and using two pairs of them on each sliding shelf. I have seen this done on heavy rack mounted electronic hardware. It doubles the load rating and the stacked arrangement will help prevent any sagging.

fixerdave
04-08-2019, 04:43 PM
Here's an idea- you can make a pair of shelves as a tandem unit. Start with an upside down U shape



I am still trying to wrap my head around this one. You wouldn't have a photo or two, by any chance?

I don't think it exists but as an idea.

Think of it this way...

The bottom "drawer" is a rolling cabinet, straight wheels on the front, rolling on the floor, back wheels on the sides running on a rail attached to the shelving frame. The only force is straight down to the wheels, no matter where the cabinet is.

The top "drawer" is a cabinet where the front wheels roll on the top of the sides of the bottom cabinet/drawer and the back wheels again run on a rail attached to the shelving frame. (That "upside-down U" thing is a bracket to keep one cabinet aligned on the other, and a place to mount the wheels)

When you want access to the top drawer, you slide out both. Again, all the force is straight down.

If you want access to the bottom drawer, you need to lock the top drawer closed and let its front wheels roll (backwards) as the bottom cabinet/drawer/thing rolls out from under it.

Actually rather clever, once you get your head wrapped around the idea. With decent wheels, you could pack a formidable amount of weight in a very compact space. I don't know that I'll have use of it, but it's a solution to keep in mind.

David...

Paul Alciatore
04-08-2019, 05:44 PM
So ooooo, with five shelves/levels, it would get to be a fairly complicated arrangement. Access to the top would be with all five levels rolled out and one less level as you go down. Actually, there is no advantage to sliding the top level out, so only four would actually roll out. But four rolling shelves, stacked on top of each other may be a bit too much.

Interesting. And definitely "out of the box" thinking. I am thinking about it. As for the wheels, I recently found four good ones at $1 each: it was a close-out item at Grainger and I got the last four with no shipping charges as I picked them up at their local office. I am still working on that project. But I can keep my eyes open for more.

I did locate some 24", BB, 100 pound rated, full extension slides at $9 per pair if I buy 20. With two pairs per shelf that would be 200 pounds each. Plus shipping, of course. That comes to a full ton for the shelf unit and I doubt that it is capable of that much so it may be a good compromise: as far as I need to go. I am still looking.




I don't think it exists but as an idea.

Think of it this way...

The bottom "drawer" is a rolling cabinet, straight wheels on the front, rolling on the floor, back wheels on the sides running on a rail attached to the shelving frame. The only force is straight down to the wheels, no matter where the cabinet is.

The top "drawer" is a cabinet where the front wheels roll on the top of the sides of the bottom cabinet/drawer and the back wheels again run on a rail attached to the shelving frame. (That "upside-down U" thing is a bracket to keep one cabinet aligned on the other, and a place to mount the wheels)

When you want access to the top drawer, you slide out both. Again, all the force is straight down.

If you want access to the bottom drawer, you need to lock the top drawer closed and let its front wheels roll (backwards) as the bottom cabinet/drawer/thing rolls out from under it.

Actually rather clever, once you get your head wrapped around the idea. With decent wheels, you could pack a formidable amount of weight in a very compact space. I don't know that I'll have use of it, but it's a solution to keep in mind.

David...

Illinoyance
04-08-2019, 05:52 PM
Slides rated at 100 lb or less per pair are inexpensive. If you need a higher capacity plan on spending some money.

fixerdave
04-08-2019, 06:31 PM
... Interesting. And definitely "out of the box" thinking. I am thinking about it....

Yeah... me too. Quirk of my mind.. can't stop thinking about stuff until it's somehow done, relevance to my life be damned.

A shallow divot on the rails (the ones mounted to the frame) where the back wheels/bearings run would provide effective holds to keep a drawer closed or open. Very easy to do.

A track on the floor would make steel on steel wheels possible, just need a minor flange on the wheel for tracking. That's assuming the tripping hazard could be lived with. Recessed tracks in the floor, either poured/cut in to concrete or maybe cut into and anti-fatigue mat (etc.) would be better, but that would leave the gap where the flange runs prone to filling up with swarf.

Agreed that a full shelving unit this way would be silly but some machine, like a bench drillpress, that could be pulled forward for access would be nice. Then, shove the drillpress back to expose the bin of stuff under it, maybe a couple of bins. Lots of possibilities for a small shop. I'm planning on having what amounts to a wall of tools in what will be my next shop. Each tool gets pulled out and locked in place for use then shoved back for space. I was thinking about making heavy drawer slides (and the reason I was interested in this topic) but... I'm thinking about it too...

David...

edit: Dang.... can't stop thinking... if the upper drawers had 3 wheels (per side): One wheel at the back running on the frame. One on the front running on the drawer below. But, if there were a 3rd wheel mounted on the frame under said drawer, near the front but behind the front wheel, When the drawer is back, it only runs on the frame. Pull it forward and it balances at the center wheel, off the back wheel and onto the front wheel. Bit of a rock, but that way the bottom drawer could roll out without having to hold up the weight of the drawers above. Bottom drawers would still have to be out to pull out the top units, but that's not a big deal. And... still thinking about it, if the bottom drawer were light and thin, it wouldn't even need much in front wheels. Pull it out first, set it down, and it becomes the solid base for everything above to pull out. Okay, now I'm sold. Time to draw it out.

edit-edit: Dang Dang! No wheels at the front of the bottom drawer, just adjustable feet. Don't put heavy stuff in it. Lift and pull it out, set it down. Have the feet adjusted so that it slightly rises above the level of the center wheel. Pull the drawer above it out and the front edge slowly rises until the center wheel holds nothing. No rocking. Put a divot on the bottom drawer side so that the drawer above wheel rolls into it at full-open, thus providing a slight hold. Repeat through all the drawers until you get to the drawer you want open. The full weight of all the drawers goes right to solid, levelled feet right on the ground. Nothing to trip on, wheels are just cheap bearings, no issues with swarf or uneven floor... Unless I'm not seeing something that's going to interfere, I do believe this might be a go-to solution, at least for my plans.

fixerdave
04-08-2019, 08:38 PM
might actually work...

http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/attachment.php?attachmentid=5015&d=1554770142

Just a rough sketch... no real dimensions. I think I'm going to draw it out for real.


David...