Instructables

Retrofit soft-close to almost any drawer (Blumotion)

Edit for 2014: this article is now nearly 4 years old, and nowadays there are soft-close kits by Blumotion and others that make this process much simpler and cheaper!

In this instructable I will teach you how to retrofit the Blumotion soft-close drawer system (from their TandemBox line) to almost any drawer! Most people prefer to retain a consistent appearance in their kitchen, so replacing the drawers entirely is out of the question (not to mention very expensive.) The Blumotion system is one of the best, however it only works with the corresponding drawer system from the same company... or so they thought :)

Tools you will need:
- drill
- bolt cutter
- small flat-head screwdriver
- small hacksaw (I used a coping saw)
- some bolts (small thread, M2.5 or 0.1" thread diameter)
- some screws
- ruler & pencil

The only requirements for the existing drawer:
- approx 12mm (0.5") clearance on either the left or the right of the drawer (almost any rail system will have this)
- approx 9mm (0.35") clearance behind the drawer
The drawer can be made of wood or metal - doesn't matter.

Note about the small piston-type door buffers / dampers:
Before this project I attempted to use these to damp my drawers, but they didn't work well (drawers wouldn't self-close, or still slammed shut.) The Blumotion system with its long throw and spring+latch mechanism overcomes these issues. Thanks to adamazing for bringing this up in the comments.

 
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luvs2skt4 months ago

My husband and I are in the process of "remodeling" (really just painting and updating) our spare bathroom. I had in mind installing these soft close drawer slides on our existing vanity drawers and kept seeing mixed reviews regarding those kits out there now. My mind kept leading me to Ikea's Rationell system that I always play with when visiting the stores. I know they work and I love them! After a quick Google search, I found your Instructable! Yay! I am absolutely using your tutorial, however I am a very hands on and a visual learner so I am sure if I had the pieces in my hands, I probably wouldn't have these questions but want to be clear anyhow

1- what is the purpose of tiny bolt you see in the very first picture?

2- you mention angling the slides so gravity works with them to close. My current drawers' tracks are mounted from the bottom (not the sides like yours show). Is it then necessary or possible to mount the slides with a downward angle if the track it rolls on sits under and level (I better go grab the tiny level and see if they are indeed level!)?

I think that is all for now. Thank you for reading my mind and coming up with this idea 4 years ago!

chylld (author)  luvs2skt4 months ago

Glad to find another like-minded retrofitter/hacker :)

1) The tiny bolt is what latches into the clear sliding piece that allows the blumotion assembly to control the motion of the drawer

2) Angling the slides is more to do with following the path of the bolt in the last inch or two of travel. If your drawer rails angle downwards then the assembly just needs to be bolted on at the same angle. See steps 6 and 7 for a better explanation

casemarte5 months ago

This process you show for retrofitting Blum Metabox drawers to soft-close is way too complicated and expensive. Blum makes a Blumotion kit for Metabox, (item Z70.0320) that retails for $8.00 and takes about 10 minutes to install. See the attached catalog page.

chylld (author)  casemarte5 months ago

It's a lot easier these days with the soft-close kits. This article was posted nearly 4 years ago when they weren't as easy to find.

oldfield16 months ago
jambar3 years ago
Hi chylid great job in laying out the instructions. I'm looking to possibly do this in the new year and was looking at IKEA's online website for Canada and they offer a different size drawer see the following link:

http://www.ikea.com/ca/en/catalog/products/30108928

it is listed as being 41 cm in width by 30.5 in length. Do you think this type of drawer will work for me to use the soft close out of to retrofit my drawers. I would appreciate your opinion on this. There are other width sizes but all are 12 inches (30.5 cm) in depth.

Thanks again for the great information.
chylld (author)  jambar3 years ago
That drawer looks like it will work - the spring/latch and damper mechanisms seem identical to those I found in my drawer kit.

Have fun with your retrofit :)
rationell-fully-extending-drawerdamper-silver-color__64916_PE175295_S4.jpg
jambar chylld3 years ago
Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly. If I have any more questions I will be sure to ask.
jambar jambar3 years ago
Hi chylld,

I do have one more quick question. Did you happen to do any retrofits on your cabinet doors to create the same soft close affect. Reason I am asking is I was thinking of purchasing dampers for the cabinet doors. I'm not sure if the blumotion items would work.

http://www.blum.com/us/en/01/30/40/20/index.php

Just wondering if you had done something that works.

Thanks,

Jamal
chylld (author)  jambar3 years ago
I did do the cabinet doors, although it was a much cleaner retrofit. I simply purchased a pack of quality dampers from http://myworld.ebay.co.uk/directdampers/

You can install these closer to or further from the hinge to lower or raise the damping effect. Installation is as simple as drilling a hole and slipping the damper in.

I tried to use these as drawer dampers, but unfortunately they don't work since it lacks a spring+latch mechanism, which is required to pull the drawer shut. With doors, there is enough force in the hinge and the load is always the same (i.e. a door always weighs the same, but a drawer will vary in weight depending on its contents)
damper.JPG
adamazing4 years ago
Great Instructable! For anyone who doesn't want to buy and dismantle all that...at least in the UK, IKEA also sells (sold) packs of standalone soft close dampers like: http://www.google.com/search?q=soft%20close%20damper http://stores.ebay.co.uk/Cheap-Beads-and-Charms/Ikea-Soft-Close-Door-Buffer.html I bought a bunch and installed them in our bedroom cupboard doors and they did a good job of absorbing/quieting down the last half inch. They were _much_ cheaper, though for the "soft-close" effect on a drawer they may not be as impressive as your approach.
chylld (author)  adamazing4 years ago
Thanks for the comment. I actually used those exact door buffers on my drawers before this project, however found that the built-in gravity closing force wasn't enough to overcome the damper. Or in the case of my big heavy bottom drawer, was too much resulting in a slam everytime! The little buffers are great for doors though as you can install them closer to the hinge for less effect and vice-versa (and the doors will always close with the same force, irrespective of the contents.)