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For many decades, rivets have been the unsung heroes of the manufacturing industry. Before the widespread of brazing and welding, the rivet was the go-to fastener used in heavy industries. It is used in many industries in the building of bridges, skyscrapers, ships, airplanes, automobiles, and buildings. The fastening of materials together in these industries is referred to as riveting. However, riveting is not the most popular form of fastening in the industry at the moment, but it is widely used in the modern-day. As a result of its usage, it is very important to have a glimpse of everything about rivets and riveting. This guide provides the most detailed information about rivets and riveting for reference purposes.
This section is all about creating a clear picture of what a rivet is. Also, it contains information about rivet’s function, how it works, and the benefits of rivets as a fastening tool.
The word rivet as a verb means to keep something stationary or secure in a place. From this definition, we can derive the contextual meaning of what a rivet does. Therefore, rivets are permanent mechanical fasteners with a head at one end and a cylindrical stem on another end used to join two pieces of material together.
In the process of installing, the rivet is placed in a drilled or punched hole while the tail is bucked or upset. This is done so that there is an expansion to about 1.5 times the original shaft diameter to prevent the rivet from falling off. Also, rivets are preferred to bolts in most cases where installers only have access to one side of a material. As a result of this, the application of rivets in manufacturing industries becomes wider.
Rivets are used in a wide variety of industries in the manufacturing space. This is because they can support tension loads and are best suited to support shear loads that are perpendicular to their axes. As mentioned earlier, they are ideal in a situation where workers cannot access the other side of the material. This is evident in wall fastening and tubing. This is evident in wall fastening and tubing.
Rivets are manufactured in different forms and are also made of different materials. Rivets can be classified based on the type of materials they are made of. They include metal and plastic.
Metal Rivets are made to achieve high strength joints in a wide variety of materials such as metals, plastics, leather, and woods. To achieve this aim, rivets must meet the minimum material requirements. Therefore, metal rivets are available in many material forms, including:
Plastic Rivets are manufacture to achieve high strength joints in materials such as plastic, wood, and many more. They are applicable in consumer appliances, automotive, furniture, and consumer electronics. Plastic rivets are made up of materials including:
Riveted connections are used widely in the manufacturing industries. Their usage is advantageous and it also comes with demerits. However, the demerits can be avoided if the rules of riveting are strictly followed.
Considering the use of welding to join materials together, it requires the preparation of both pieces to be connected. This process takes quite a lot of equipment to weld two materials together. Consequently, production cost increases and daily productivity reduces. On the other hand, riveting takes much lesser equipment and negligible waste residue are left after riveting. This then leads to cost reduction and an increase in production output.
The use of rivets is cheap as an alternative to metal adhesives and welding. In its use, the cost of electricity required in large amounts of welding is saved. The use of special material for the connections is not required, unlike welding that requires hot metal adhesives.
Rivets are produced in varieties of structures and shapes based on the need of the use. They are also available in various forms of materials. With the existence of brazier head, oval head, and tubular rivets designs they offer different tolerance values and strength.
Rivets are highly durable. They are resistant to moisture, corrosion, and even certain chemicals. Examples used in the construction industries are resistant metals and alloys including galvanized steel, titanium, aluminum, nickel, and more. The anti-corrosive properties of rivets add to the life of fastened parts.
Inspection and maintenance of welded structures are time-consuming compare to riveted structures. In the case of welded structures, it has to be installed over again when worn out. On the other hand, worn-out rivets can be re-installed with minimum equipment like a simple hammer or a hydraulic riveting machine.
The use of rivets is highly durable but it comes with some disadvantages. They include:
Rivets exist in varieties of forms and can be classified based on material, function, and shape. These forms include the blind, countersunk, drive, flush, friction-lock, Oscar, self-pierce, semi-tubular, standard solid/round head, and many more.
The standard, blind rivet, and countersunk rivet are the most popular forms of rivets used today. When a smooth exterior is not necessary for aesthetics or when a surface won’t fit against another, the standard type is used. The use of countersunk rivet type requires a smooth exterior on flat surfaces. And lastly, when only one side of the materials to be used can’t be accessed, then the blind rivet is used.
This type of rivets are popular and are widely used because they are ideal in a situation where riveters have no access to the second side of the materials. For this type of rivet, it may require predrilling of a hole to house the rivets. However, some blind rivets do not require predrilling of holes they are self-tapping rivets, speed fastening rivets, and self-drilling rivets. Blind or pop rivets have a wide application in shipbuilding, aerospace, and electronic industries.
This type of rivets is one of the oldest rivets in the industry. They are incredibly strong and are considered to be one of the most tamper-proof as well as vibration resistant rivets in existence. This type requires heating the fastener for installation. They are made of several ranges of materials including, steel, stainless steel, brass, bronze, aluminum, copper, nickel-silver, and many more. As a result of their strength, solid rivets have applications in structural steel buildings.
This type of rivets is installed by driving the center pin into the rivet’s body with the use of a hammer. This is done to cause the other end of the rivet to flare out to fasten the materials together. They have a short mandrel that protrudes from the head. Drive rivets exist in different varieties, they include:
The threaded Inserts and rivet nuts are used when installations are required to be done or possible from one side. They help to provide uniquely strong permanent thread via sheet materials and other materials. Example of Threaded Inserts and rivet nuts include:
This type of rivets has a wider application outside of the heavy construction industry. It is an ideal rivet for piecing through softer material including leather, plastic, and woods. The split legs of split rivets are bent to hold materials together.
Self-piercing rivets are a type of rivet that requires no pre-drill or punched hole. The end of self-piercing rivets comes with a chamfered poke that is used to pierce materials to fastened together. An interesting thing about self-piercing rivets is that they piece through the top sheet of material but they don’t fully pierce to the other side of the sheet. In essence, they do not come out on the other side of the material. As a result, they create gas or watertight joints since they don’t fully pierce to the bottom of the fastened materials.
These structure steel rivets were widely used in those days to fasten structural steel. Recently, they have been replaced largely with the use of high-strength bolts. This is because the installation of such high strength bolts can be done by anybody as opposed to the installation of structurer steel rivets that requires skilled workers.
Oscar rivets are somehow similar to the blind rivets. They possess split along the hollow shaft and are usually in sets of three. The split causes the shaft to bend and flare towards as the mandrel is pulled into the rivet. The flare helps to create a wide surface that allows for a reduction of the chances of being pulled out after installation.
This type of rivets is otherwise known as countersunk rivets because they use the countersunk head and a countersunk hole for their installation. The flush rivets are used to provide an impressive appearance for eternal surfaces. They are also used to eliminate aerodynamic drag.
The friction-lock rivets have a resemblance to an expanding bolt. They are one of the first types of rivets to be used widely in an aerospace application. In structure, they exist as domed shaped or countersunk shaped.
Plastic rivets are classified based on the type of materials used for their production. They are used widely in the manufacture of consumer electronics, appliances, and many more. The type of plastic rivets to be used depends on the properties of the materials the rivets are meant to join. They exist in varieties of types including:
Because of its powerful functions and small size, rivets are widely used in various fields and products in life. The following are the common application of rivets:
Aircraft are manufactured from solid strong materials. If these heavy-duty materials are not well fastened together, they may fall apart and cause a serious accident. In this construction, bolting, welding, and brazing are used. However, riveting is a vital process in the construction of an aircraft, and it is widely used too. The end goal of using riveting is to achieve the strongest union of parts that are joined together. In the aircraft industry, it is most commonly used to fasten aluminum alloys together because they are not easy to solder. Another reason for its use is because, during repairs, it may not always be possible to reach the rear end of the structure being fastened. In this situation, riveting becomes more essential and useful.
If a closer look is given to the buildings around us, inside and out, one may see some rivets around it. Rivets are widely used in building construction such as fiberglass roofing, window blinds, and hanger straps. Other construction applications include doors and window installations, wind guards, gutter construction, and many more. Riveting is effective in a situation where nails are not effective in attaching metal sheets.
Riveting is ideal in attaching signs, nameplates, or decoration to walls or ceilings of a building. This is because you can only have access to a side of the ceiling or a wall. Examples include the attachment of Christmas lanterns, ornamental objects, photo frames, framed paintings, and any other type of decorations to ceilings and walls.
Both amateurs and professional jewelry makers make use of riveting as a cold connection method. This gives jewelry makers the ease to fasten metal pieces together without the use of heat or soldering techniques. It allows for the addition of depth and texture to jewelry made. Riveting helps to save time and cost in jewelry making because its technique is very basic and easy to master.
Riveting is commonly used in woodworking projects. Riveting is often the most superior option in woodworking projects. With their durability and strength, they help to ensure studier finished products, which allows furniture to be fastened together for a longer period. Rivets are used in products including wooden shelves, stands, lockers, cabinets, drawer pulls, handles, and doorknobs.
Rivets are widely used in HVAC installations. It is useful in fastening HVAC ducts to ensure that all field joints are airtight. It can be done by drilling rivet holes using different drill sizes as required through both layers of ducting. Then pop rivets with pins are used to assemble the ducts. Rivets are used most times because sheet metal screws may catch a piece of wood and can eventually clog the system. Also, the velocity of the air in the duct along with wood dust may wear out the screw over time. Then the screws will fall out causing the pipe to fall off if not efficiently supported.
Rivets have a wide application in electronic too. Here the plastic rivets are used. These plastic rivets are used to fasten soft materials such as plastic, rubber, and urethane covering of electronics. An example of its usage can be found in computers and panels.
Choosing the right rivet for your project is very important for the success of your projects. The following are the factors to consider to ensure the right rivets are used.
The diameter of the rivet to be used is crucial for a successful riveting. If the diameter is too small for its hole then the gap in the hole can cause installation problems and also increase shear stress. If care is not taken, over time the hole may be penetrable by the rivet head. In a bid to resolve this, it is required to measure the hole size properly and avoid using unfit rivet in the hole.
The grip range of a rivet is referred to as the thickness it can be effectively fastened. For example, if two quarter-inch parts of materials are to be fastened, a pop rivet with a minimum grip of half-inch grip is required. Best practice of riveting dictates that the optimum grip size of a rivet is used and not the minimum/maximum grip size. The result of this is to achieve tensile and shear strength and imposes longevity on the parts fastened.
The length of the body is the total length of the rivet excluding the head of the rivet. The body length of a rivet is very important when the blind side of the fastener material is considered. This is because too long rive may negatively affect whatever is placed on the other side of the fastener material.
The head size of the rivet is considered to ensure an increase in aesthetic value, effective protrusion, and to determine the integrity of riveting. Dome head rivets stay above the fastened materials while large flange rivets help to cover more areas. This allows for providing more fastening capabilities by covering more areas.
In this chapter, I will briefly write about the issues that many people care about: How to install rivets and how to remove rivets.
There are several ways of installing a rivet. The method to be used in rivet installation depends on the type of rivet to be installed. In this case, we will describe how to install a solid rivet. This type of rivet is composed of a solid tube with a head that resembles a flat screw. The following are the required tool and the few steps involved in the installation of a solid rivet:
The removal of a rivet requires permanent destruction of the rivet because it is non-reusable thereafter. The easiest method for the removal of a rivet is to drill it out.
To install pop rivets, predrilling of holes is requires through the thin section of the materials in question. Then the rivets are loaded into the rivet gun for riveting. Then insert the free end via the hole and actuate the rivet gun. The rivet gun can be an automatic rivet gun with a pneumatic or an electric trigger or a manual rivet gun with two handles to be squeezed together. Furthermore, when the rivet gun is actuated, the head of the rivet stays against the outer surface while the central mandrel moves up. As a result, the bottom portion of the rivet is compressed and it expands the bottom potion. This expansion is increased until it reaches approximately one and a half times the size of the original diameter. Then a larger bearing surface in which the two materials are effectively fastened together.
The first thing to do when installing a forged rivet is to locate the head of the rivet that makes the outer bearing surface. Then insert the end without heat into the predrilled hole. This is followed by pressing this end into place to create another bearing surface on the inner side.
A bolt is a metal fastener with a larger head on one hand end and it possesses a threaded cylindrical body. It can be inserted into an unthreaded hole with a nut then threaded on the other end. On the other hand, a rivet is a mechanical fastener that can be used to join multiple parts together. This may be done by fitting the rivet into a hole and deforming the head of the rivet at either end.
Solid rivets are said to be the strongest mechanical fastener known. They are made of high-strength steel and aerospace alloy while their solid shaft creates a possible shear force for a particular hole. They are said to be stronger than the bolt since threads create potential crack initiation sites.
Apart from the use of rivets, other methods are available for fastening solutions. Other alternatives include bolting, adhesives, screws, nails, folded joints, welding, soldering, clinching, brazing, and many more.
Rivets are preferred for the construction of airplanes because they can withstand extreme stress. They are said to withstand extreme stress without breaking and they hardly succumb to damage. They are used in aerospace manufacturing because it simplifies both production and maintenance process of aircraft. Another reason why rivets are used because aluminum materials used are intolerable to heat.
Rivet is a very strong mechanical fastener. After installation, they rarely loosen because the body of the rivet tends to be larger than its hole. They don’t break off or shake out while the tight seal for rivet allows for the prevention of leaks and seepage.
Structural blind rivets with high strength are used In heavy structural work. They are designed to be used in a one-sided structural application with the ability to carry heavyweights.
In driving the rivet, a rivet gun or a pneumatic hammer is used. The rivet gun is used on the head of a rivet while a bucking bar is used to support the tail of a rivet. A riveting hammer has a flat face and a narrow peen and is used to swag down rivets.
The only available method of removing a pop rivet is by destroying the rivet. This is done by drilling out the fastener using friction from the drill bit to cut through at the inner wall of the rivet. This helps to separate the shaft from the head. A recommended drill for this task is the titanium drill bits.
A pop rivet can hold up to 500 to 700lbs or more of shear strength.
The riveting technique is not as strong as welding because it is required when the fastened part are required to withstand forces that can draw the piece apart. In this situation, riveted joints may likely fail in comparison with properly welded joints.
A blind rivet is a fastener that is installed when there is no access to the other side of the fastener materials. Blind rivet is otherwise known as pop rivets because it is a brand of the blind rivet. However, not all pop rivets are blind rivets.
Rivets offer supreme fastening capabilities for both heavy-duty and light applications. With its usage for many decades, they are found in sheet-material assemblies to submarines to aircraft and many more. At this juncture, it is evident that rivets are very important and as well as crucial in fastening processes. Irrespective of the rivet type needed for your project, be assured that your project will end up as a successful one. For more information, do well to contact us.
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