There are many options available for drawer slides, I've often used the cheap metal ones and these perform very well if installed correctly. They can loosen up over time though and are somewhat noisy.
There are better slides, but these can be expensive. For example, 12 pairs of 16" full extension 100lb slides would be $140 plus sales tax and shipping or fuel cost to pick up. Certainly, a reasonable expense under the right circumstances.
These cost roughly $5:
Made from pine, they are "L" shaped to guide the bottom and side of the drawer. The benefit of this type of drawer slide (beside the low cost) is that they can support a tremendous amount of weight, as the drawers below help to support the ones above. They are also very quiet in use, which is important to me.
The slides are specially shaped: tapered toward the front. This was done using a shop built jig on the table saw to cut a slight taper in the finished slide. The slides were installed with glue (PL Premium) and nails. The nails act as clamps, to hold the slides in place until the glue dries.
The pine stretcher seen in the picture above is to brace the outer side of the cabinet and was attached to the slides prior to their being installed. It helps to maintain the correct distance between the sides.
Here I'm already making good use of the sanding surface. This is a piece of 5/8" plywood for the drawer box sides that I sanded smooth. As can be seen, the dust collection was not yet connected, so no practical test of that capability yet. The good news is that it seems to be an excellent sanding surface:
A pile of parts for the 12 drawers. Sides are 5/8" spruce plywood. I had some off cuts from a another project sitting around and thought that it would be very suitable for the drawer sides. I cut them to width and ran them through the thickness planer to smooth and fair them up. I then sanded them with my random orbit sander (as seen above).
Fronts and backs of the drawer boxes are 1/2" G1S plywood. Scraps mostly, off cuts from making this cabinet and the sanding station.
The drawers assembled:
Bottoms are 1/4" OSB and are fully glued in. Many will say that drawer bottoms should not be glued in, but when using a dimensionally stable material like OSB, there is no reason not to - it will not expand and contract significantly with seasonal humidity changes. Indeed, the drawer will be much stronger if the bottom is glued in.
Drawers fitted, bins made and notched for a finger pull:
The bins are made from 1/2" spruce plywood that was planed and sanded smooth. Again, put together with butt joints, glued and nailed. A semi-circular cut was made in each bin to create a pull. This was done with a 2" hole saw and guide. The cut was then cleaned up on the spindle sander.
Here's a video of how the holes were drilled in the top and how the drawers were assembled:
There are a couple good reasons to put proper fronts on the drawers: First, it limits the amount of dust that can get in by closing the gap around the drawers. Second, it pretties the project up. Just because it's for the shop, doesn't mean it has to look crude.
The fronts are solid pine and I was careful to pick some very clear (no knots or defects) stock for a clean look:
The fronts were cut to fit with a 1/8" gap on all sides and tacked to the drawer boxes with 1" nails. I then screwed the fronts on from inside the drawer using 1" screws. I numbered each drawer and the space it fits in to avoid getting them mixed up, since each drawer is custom fit to the space it's in.
Notice that I changed my mind on the pulls - hit by inspiration this morning, I designed these and cut them out:
Cut on the band saw, I put my new spindle sander to good use to smooth them. They are solid pine and just glued on, which should be enough to hold them solidly. I'm more worried about them cracking where they are thin and cut across the grain. Time will tell, I think they'll be fine.
I do know that it only took about 30 minutes to make these complete (from scraps) and that the metal ones that I was going to buy would have been a minimum $30 from wholesale. Retail price would be more than 2 times that. Doing it yourself and saving money... not often it works like that.
Here are the dimensions for the handles as I made them:
I have started to put the dividers in. The top 4 drawers are all made the same way: 24 - 3" x 3.75" compartments per drawer. These are made from 1/4" plywood that is just glued in, with the occasional nail. The next 4 down will be divided differently, with 12 compartments and the bottom 4 will be left alone until I can figure out what I want to put in them:
I've already started to fill the pull out bins. These will go from 1" through to 3" #8 flathead wood screws in the 6 bins (1", 1.25", 1.5", 2", 2.5", 3") as these are the sizes and type screw I use the most.
A video on putting in drawer dividers:
Finally, two coats of clear satin polyurethane. On all of the outside surfaces, even the back. This will help to keep the unit clean and seals the wood from moisture:
Dust collector is connected. That's a piece of 4" PVC pipe and it can be quickly disconnected from the mobile dust collector by pushing the pipe into the cabinet. Also seen in this picture are the holes I cut in the bottom of the 'dust chamber' to link it to the duct below.
I'm pleased to report that increasing the hole size in the top toward the edges seems to have worked. There is very even airflow throughout the surface of the top. A sanding test using my random orbit sander (with no dust bag attached) resulted in extremely low levels of airborne dust - a success for sure.
A SketchUp drawing for this table is available:
A rewarding project, it's dual purpose nicely meeting two of my needs. I have many of the drawers filled already and I have no doubt the table will see tons of dust-free sanding action.