A couple of days ago, someone in a woodworking forum popped up and wondered how one would make a mechanism that would allow upright drawers to pull out and swivel like the ones in the picture. I ended up being first into the thread and pointed out that it could easily and cheaply be done with a couple of t-tracks, some t-bolts and, if you wanted to be fancy, four bearings. But nobody liked my $10 solution, everyone kept coming up with things that cost much, much more, ostensibly because it costs so much more, it must be better, right?
There are always ways to make things more complex and more expensive, I see little reason to do so. Keep it simple, stupid. Now I don’t know how my solution would work in practice, I’ve never tried it, but really you just need two movements in the example above. You need a sliding action and you need a turning action. The sliding action could be mounted on a set of drawer slides or, as in my example, something extremely easy like a pair of t-tracks that allow movement only in two directions, in and out. Then you need to worry about rotating the sides once they are at full extension. This requires a pivot point. The perfect solution IMO is to just use the bolt that is already riding in the t-track and a couple of washers to allow the sides to swing freely. As I said, if you want to be really fancy, you could include a couple of small bearings but because the weight is so small, I don’t think it’s necessary. The construction of the sides would keep the mechanism from racking and keep it square and the mechanism would easily allow the sides to move to any angle desired. Easy peasy, costs a couple of bucks, how can you go wrong?
But no, people have to go with the expensive options. Someone threw out pocket door slides, which only allow the side to swing one way and, of course, cost at least $25. Mine allows any angle you wish. Someone else said flipper door slides, which suffer from the same limitation, yet at least are only $18. Most woodworkers have lengths of t-track laying around the shop and since this is a small project, it can use up some of those offcuts that might otherwise end up in the trash. You can go buy a couple of t-bolts, complete with washers and nuts at Home Depot or Lowes for a couple of bucks. Like I said, easy peasy. But no, nobody wants to even listen to the simple, cheap solution that works better and actually does the job as described better than the more expensive ideas. Heck, if you were really industrious, you could just make your own t-tracks out of hardwood and not have to spend that money either. But that’s not sexy, I guess.
I don’t know, maybe I’m just ranting a bit, but the idea that the only solution worth using is the solution that costs the most and that comes from a high end retailer seems absurd. Isn’t the whole point of woodworking to make something? Not to just assemble something? But hey, what do I know, right?