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John Whittlesea

Why can’t I get a dampened soft-close on a short telescopic slide?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

19th Feb 2014

One of the more popular features in slides today is the soft-close mechanism. This feature brings drawers to a gentle close and helps prevent slamming.

Soft-close mechanisms are fitted within the profile of the slide at the rear and typically can take up between 80 to 100 mm. This has an impact on the length of the intermediate member and the ball retainer lengths. This in turn has an impact on the load rating of the slide, the available space for fixing points and the ability to achieve the travel / extension requirements.

The main problem is lack of space within the slide.

The movement in a telescopic slide is provided by ball bearings running in a ball retainer.

To get good movement and load rating, we need to maximise member length and particularly get good ball coverage. This translates to: the more ball bearings, the higher the load.

Once you get to shorter slide lengths the space becomes restricted and there will be less room for fixing points at the rear of the slide.

On our heavy duty soft-closing slide (5321EC and 5417EC) we have added extra fixing holes right at the back of the slide for this very reason.

The shortest soft-close slide we produce (3832EC) is 350mm long and the travel is restricted to 310mm.

Slides shorter than this would not have enough space for the soft-close mechanism. The intermediate member is too short and we cannot fit enough ball bearings to give a suitable load rating.

For slides shorter than 350mm, we suggest that you look out for an externally mounted, retro-fit, soft-close mechanism that can be fitted alongside the slide.

These pull the drawer closed for the last few cm and can be used either on one or both drawer slides depending on the load required.

There will still be a length of slide that is too short for any type of damper - unless you invent one; we’d be pleased to hear from you.

PS: coming soon – an Accuride heavy duty soft-close damping system for use alongside the DA0115RC, which could also be mounted alongside many of our other slide series, as an external soft-close.

John Whittlesea

Do ball bearing slides work OK in high temperatures?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

28th Jan 2014

Our standard range of mild steel ball bearing slides with plastic components are designed to be used for extended periods in a temperature range between -20°C and 70°C.

We cannot guarantee that slides will work effectively or survive outside of this range since extreme temperatures will affect the plastic components in standard ball bearing slides.

With the plastic materials we use, any temperature above 70°C will take them into their heat distortion temperature or softening temperature range.

Some slides will also have restricted temperature ranges due to their specialized parts. For example, the DZ5321EC has an operating range of 10°C - 40°C. Read the individual product datasheets for any additional information.

However, Accuride’s slides (regardless of material or finish) without plastic components can be used in temperatures between -20°C and 110°C. This is the operating temperature range of our standard lubrication.

Ball bearing slides designed especially for use in high temperatures

The DS3031 is a stainless steel slide that uses high temperature food-grade grease and has no plastic parts, making it suitable for applications with a maximum temperature of 300°C. This is part of our off-the shelf range and can be ordered through your local Accuride distributor.

We already supply bespoke slides for use in extreme temperatures and we continue to work direct with OEMs on technically advanced techniques for these applications.

If you need a slide for a specific high temperature project then please contact our sales team to discuss how we can help you.

John Whittlesea

I want to replace the cabinet slides in my wooden drawer

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

22nd Nov 2013

We are often asked questions about replacing or installing cabinet slides. Most of the queries are about home projects for wooden cabinets or kitchen drawers.

So here are a few tips that we hope will help...

If you want to replace some old slides or upgrade your rollers to ball bearing slides then there some basic things that you need to know:

  1. What load will the drawer need to hold (include the weight of the drawer)
  2. What travel do you want? This is the amount that the drawer will open. Do you need to get right to the back of the drawer or will a 75% opening be OK?
  3. How much side space is available? This is the space between the inside of the cabinet and the drawer. You need to select a slide that will fit correctly in this space. Read more here.
  4. Slide length. We recommend that you use the longest slide that will fit .
  5. Width of drawer. Read more about fitting drawer slides to wide drawers here.

Selecting the right cabinet slide for your project

Once you know the answers to these questions you can go to the Accuride slide selector and work out which slides will be the most suitable.

For example, let’s put some answers in and see if we can work out which cabinet slide to use.

  1. Load – no more than 40kg
  2. Travel – at least 100%
  3. Side space - 13mm
  4. Slide length - 450mm
  5. Drawer width - 400mm

Cabinet slide features – available options

Now consider if you want a disconnect feature, hold-in, a self-closing slide – there are lots of options, so take your time and think about how often you use the drawer and which features will be of real benefit.

Many people now ask for a soft-close drawer. Accuride sells several versions depending on the drawer weight and width. Search for slide ranges with an EC suffix.

Watch our videos to see what these features do:


If in any doubt you can contact your local Accuride distributor or email our Technical Manager with your questions.

Download our slide selection guide pdf

John Whittlesea

How do I clean a ball bearing drawer slide?

Author: John Whittlesea, Technical support manager

17th Sep 2013

Drawer slides should move in and out easily. But if the tracks start to get filled with dirt you could find that the slide is beginning to stick.

Accuride slides have self-cleaning ball retainers that protect the raceways by removing the foreign particles between the ball bearings. However, there are times when particles get stuck in the ball track.

Not all slides can be removed easily from your application. The removal can vary between manufacturers and products. Refer to the manufacturer’s installation instructions.

Look for a disconnect lever or latch in the slide track. Or there may be a bracket or lancing holding the track. If you don't see any obvious removal method, try lifting the front of the drawer up then pulling the drawer out and up.

Wipe the dirt from the slide tracks with a clean lint-free cloth soaked in white spirit.

Some drawer slides have no disconnect feature, so you will have to clean them while still in place. Wipe the parts of the track that you can reach and use canned air to blow dirt from areas you can’t.

Accuride slides have a lubricant that is sufficient for normal slide life, but if you do clean the slides this will need to be replaced with quality grease rated for extreme pressure.

Technical hint

Do not use a solvent based product – this can affect the slide’s internal plastic components.

13th Aug 2013

The distance between the cabinet and drawer is critical if you intend to use a ball bearing drawer slide.

Most slide manufacturers refer to this as ‘side space tolerance’ and it will vary depending on the slide you chose. Always refer to the manufacturers’ installation guides; we can only talk here about the side space needed for Accuride drawer slides.

First you need to know the slide thickness

Look at the cross section drawings or the slide thickness measurements given for each of the slides.
For best performance it is important that the slide has room to move freely.

However, it is also important to understand that ball bearing slides cannot absorb large gap deviations between the cabinet and drawer. The space must be consistent along the whole length of the slide. Also, it must not be too large; this will pull the slide members apart and cause movement problems.

Side space must always be greater than the slide thickness

We recommend that you allow between +0.2mm and +0.5mm over the slide thickness.
For example, the 3832 slide is 12.7mm thick, therefore the side space should be between 12.9 and 13.2mm.

However, there are some slides that will need a different formula for working out the slide space. For the 5321 series of slides only, allow between +0.5mm and +0.9mm over the slide thickness.

Side space tolerance

Some slides are designed to allow a little bit of side space tolerance, which is often needed in woodworking projects.

Look out for slides with breathing tabs; a small tongue of metal with a U slot around it. This allows the tip of the tongue to bend just a little bit to help absorb those tricky tolerances.

Technical tip

Always read the manufacturer’s installation guide – not all slides will need the same side space allowance.

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