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I need to mount a 19" 36U high rack mount cabinet in a confined space. For various reasons, the cabinet cannot be permanently mounted so that access to the rear is possible. Does anyone know of a supplier of a slider/rail system that will allow the entire cabinet to slide out for access? I know it's possible to have rails for individual items of equipment, but due to the nature of the hardware I would prefer the whole cabinet to slide.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

I have one of these rotating roll-out racks from Middle-Atlantic, they're deep & come with or without enclosures to allow for being built into a space.

They wouldn't take responsibility for it being damaged in transit so I can't recommend them wholeheartedly, but it does the job.

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Cheers, this looks pretty good. Slightly too deep, but I'll have a look round the rest of the site. – HMcG Nov 20 '10 at 13:29
If you do choose one of these, I'll warn you of one thing I learned the hard way & that's to always use a vacuum not a blower to clean the track inside the enclosure. This to minimize the risk of getting grit in between the underside of the rack & the weight dispersion rail next to the vertical axis that it pivots on. The rail is plastic and is easily grooved under the weight of the rack which grinds bits of ziptie remnants into it. What once was smooth now looks like brake rotors. It still rotates fine, takes slightly more effort to move. 2 handed now, not just 1. :) – NginUS Nov 20 '10 at 16:26

Try searching for "pull-out rack"; there appears to be a lot of stuff out there that may be appropriate (I haven't looked too closely). E.g.:

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Just get one with wheels, there are loads about, try Rittal.

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It's going on a ship, so it has to be secured down pretty well. I had hoped to find one with a rail/ track. I'll look at Rittal, perhaps a combination of a wheeled cabinet and a track of some kind will be the best I can find. – HMcG Nov 20 '10 at 10:19

Wouldn't it be better to have the cabinet permanently fixed in place but leave a 1U gap between each server and bring all the cables out through that gap to the front to cable-management bars there?

Otherwise just have the bosun lash it to the fo'csle, or something.

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What is this, International Talk Like A Pirate Day? ;-) – HMcG Nov 20 '10 at 13:19

Following on from Chopper's answer, if you get one with wheels then you can probably adapt the fittings for the wheels to go into a rail system?

I'd personally want to see something like this braced and connected to rails/supports in more than one place (e.g. top as well as bottom) as a full rack might end up with its centre of gravity quite high up and I'm sure you don't need me to tell you it could end up being a serious safety hazard. If you might need to slide it forward while out at sea then again, for safety purposes, you'll probably need to be able to 'lock' it in the "out" position as well as when it is against the wall.

I'm sad to say that this is something you'd have to sort out internally if it can't be supplied by an actual ship fittings company, at the end of the day there are some things you can't compromise on.

There must be a ship fitters that have encountered this problem before, all kinds of survey vessels have scientific equipment in racks of one kind or another so what you're asking for shouldn't be that unusual.

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Yep, it's standard practice to have anything like that secured top as well as bottom. We have similar locking rail systems for other equipment, i had just expected it to be a fairly common requirement, and so I'd just be able to order off-the-shelf. However such requirements are not likely to be available from ship fitters, and if they were it would be at 10 times the price of a standard unit. – HMcG Nov 20 '10 at 13:17

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