Way back I made a blog about the traverser. I’m the first to admit that traversers are not the ideal storage solution, but space dictated the use of one. At the time I used some heavy duty drawer slides, smooth movement but I always had some problems with backlash when running round a train. To add to the problem they had some sideplay, only a mm or so, but that turned out to be an issue.
Anyway, couple of weeks back I turned the layout on to run a couple of early evening trains while my tea was in the oven. Traverser unlocked, drive engaged to run it across to line 6. Turn round to check my tea, and as the traverser moves across there are a couple of very loud cracks. Yep the whole thing had shifted enough for the rail ends to catch. Result, some rather bent rails and services at Kelvinbank suspended for the day.
So I hit the internet. Proper linear ball slides used to be very expensive, but the price has dropped a lot in recent years. I ordered a pair of 600 mm slides and a ball screw, 80 quid. At that price I did wonder if I was being sold a pup, but when they arrived I was well impressed. Nice smooth linear movement, and no lateral movement that I could feel. Proper ball bearing housings for the lead screw too. Fixed a strap to the slides and clamped the thing the bench, my old dial gauge showed much less than a thou error across the whole length.
Rebuilding the traverser with the new slides proved to be less of a problem than I imagined, though of course having got it all running parallel I then had to go over all the track ends and realign them. Rail ends are now gapped to 0.5 mm.
A couple of photos, shows the general arrangement.
No engineering solution lasts forever, I will be interested to see how precise the whole thing stays over time.
I might do something more interesting with the two run round tracks at the lh end at some point. It has occurred to me that converting them to cassettes might be a flexible use of the space.