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school me on pop rivets...

Discussion in 'The Tool Shed' started by jekbrown, May 18, 2006.

  1. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    I am working on my narrowed K5 hood. The factory support system on my 85 was basically held on by the edges around the hoods perimeter being folded... plus some panel adhesive here and there in the middle for good meaure. Naturally, after cutting the sides and back off it gets pretty flimsy. I want to stiffen it up without adding much weight. Plan right now is to clean things up and add more panel adhesive... let it set and then drill some holes and add a bunch of rivets. In the end, the whole hood will be Line-X'd.

    All of that crap said... whats the deal with pop rivets. The tool looks simple enough... are there good and bad rivet guns? is it hard to do? are there certain kinds of rivets that would work better than others? Is this even a good application for rivets? lol! Since I love all things HF (save welders and benders!) I was thinking this one might work for me...

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=7356

    input/thoughts?

    j
     
  2. ryan22re

    ryan22re 1/2 ton status

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  3. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Yeah, you don't want a cheap rivet gun. Nothing more than an exercise in frustration. I've got a Craftsman (I think it's referred to as their "industrial" line?) that is just "adequate" for “hobby” use IMO, and they are not too steep.

    As for the hood, I just skinned out the whole thing for my narrowed hood and built a square tube “frame” for it. This was then installed with urethane as a panel adhesive (that stuff is SUPER strong, made for installing windshields in late model cars) and a few tacks along the outer edges. This also gave me a place to attach hinges. See here for more details.

    Oh, and the stock panel adhesive releases easily with a heat gun and putty knife. :D
     
  4. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    years ago before I got into machining I worked at a shop that built airline seats. I worked in the R&D Dept and we used thousands of rivets everyday. for what your doing I would use all stainless steel rivets for obvious reasons, no rust. a standard rivet is fine. from what I remember for heavy duty applications we would use whats called a "Cherry rivet", there are also "Chery rivet Pneumatic rivet guns" for those rivets. those guns are very expensive. its a very strong type of rivet. we only used pneumatic rivet guns. I have a pneumatic gun myself for standard type rivets that will handle several different stem sizes. I just have to change to the correct stem adapter and Im good to go. you will find out that a pneumatic gun if a life saver. after you do 20 30 consecutive rirets or however many rivets and your hand is sore as hell a pneumatic gun is like heaven.

    a pneumatic gun is one of those tools you dont use very often but when you need it your glad you have it. my dad built a 2 horse, horse trailer from scratch one time years ago. he was skinning the outside with sheet metal completely just like a factory one, all pop riveted. he called me about 2 days into the skinning part of it. told me his hands were sore as hell from all the pop riveting he was doing. I told him I had a pneumatic gun and let him borrow it. well he called me after he had it a few days a could not get over how fast it speed the job of skinning the framming up. I know your not doing that kind of quantity but look for a good used one or maybe even Harbor Freight sells them too. you will not go back to hand pop tool after you use a pneumatic gun. I allmast did not get my gun back from my dad. he kept saying let me keep it for a bit longer. did not get it back for 6 months. he was pop riveting all kind os stuff he made. finally told him I would buy him one but I wanted mine back.
     
  5. dhcomp

    dhcomp 3/4 ton status Premium Member

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    Yah, it sounds like you could, but Don't buy a cheap one. I had a 20-30$ one from stanley or someone, and broke it on aluminum rivets after maybe 20-30 - not very durable! Spend some decent $ and get a craftsman and never think about it again.....
     
  6. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    here is my rivet gun made by Ernhart Corporation. the stems fall out the rubber boot. it takes about 1 sec. or less to pop a rivet vs. 3 to 4 pulls or more by hand of a hand rivet tool.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  7. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    air-powered is way to cool for me... how about this "industrial" one from HF...

    http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=33172

    says it does 3/16"... I'd prolly use 1/8" though. Don't even know if I have a 3/16" drill bit.

    As far as building a frame for it... I'm trying to avoid that. I really don't want to put the weight into it that would give it much structural rigidity. If I can get away with some adhesive, rivets and a coat of Line-X... I will. :thumb:

    Anyway... what about the technique of actually using the rivets. Do you drill a hole that is fullsize (as opposed to slightly smaller like you would when tapping holes or whatever) and then basically use the rivet gun sorta like a giant staple gun or...? Just wanna make sure there isn't much to the process. lol. I have 50 gazillion things to do... I try to keep every one of them as simple as possible. ;) :thumb:

    j
     
  8. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    you want the hole just bigger then the rivet so it goes in easy. if the rivet is a 1/8 rivet just use a 1/8 bit it will drill slightly bigger anyways when hand drilling.
     
  9. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    ok, I went out to HF today to use my 20% off dealie and while I was there I looked at their hand rivet gizmos. Most of them were similar to the $7 one I linked in my 1st post... didn't seem to great.

    I decided to "spend the big bucks" and get the largest manual riveter they have there. Cost me a total of $17... and will do rivets up to 1/4". I will probably use 3/16" for this app. They had 1/8" rivets for sale there in bulk, and they seemed pretty small. Maybe 3/16" will be better.

    Rivets also have differing depth/length measurements for the same diameters (i didn't even know, Im a rivet noob!). The manual that came with mine said you want the head of the rivet that is 3/16" longer than the material you are riveting. The sheetmetal on my hood appears to be around 1/16" thick... as is the sheetmetal for the supports I am attaching it to. 1/8" overall thickness + the 3/16" = 5/16" long rivet head? I was looking on a fastener web site and it had rivets listed by "grip range". Learn something new every day I guess. Less math involved when they just give you a range. At any rate, I guess I'll head down to my local fastener supplier and see what they can do for me.

    Last question: is there a reason why stainless would be better than aluminum in this application? Neither one will rust.... SS is prolly more expensive. Whats the downside of AL?

    j
     
  10. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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  11. pvfjr

    pvfjr 1/2 ton status

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  12. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    Steel parts get steel (or SS) fasteners. This done for strength and to prevent galvanic corrosion. That HD gun is the minimum I would buy. Anything less is for things like screen doors. The gun that rdn posted is awesome, I've used similar at work, and Cherry Max rivets are about the best when it comes to blind rivets. Rivet P/Ns will include their size at the end. Something like this: MS20426AD-4-6, the "-4" is the diameter in 1/32s (1/8" in this case) and the "-6" is the length of the shank in 1/16s (3/8" in this case). That number is not for a blind rivet, its for a copper alloy, counter sunk, solid rivet, but I couldn't remember a # for a blind rivet off the top of my head. One more thing to remember is a counter sunk rivet's length includes the head while a button head's does not. You may also want to pick up a grip gauge-they are cheep, and some clecos and cleco pliers to keep things lined up.
    clecos: http://www.browntool.com/productselect.asp?productid=169
    cleco pliers: http://www.browntool.com/productselect.asp?productid=171
     
  13. rdn2blazer

    rdn2blazer 1 ton status Premium Member

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    bigjbear, man you are bringing back some old memories from this rivet info. I used to have to deal and know all kinds of this stuff. its been alon time since I have dealt with this info and yes I have forgot alot of it, but I still have all my specialty tools that I used in the aircraft assembly field such as Cleco's. use to use these by the hundreds assembling aircraft seats in our R&D Dept.

    jek, these will help alot with your assembly to keep everything fitted correctly. you can pick these up pretty cheap now a days from surplus tool suppliers liks Cal Aero supply in Paramount Ca. I know they have a web site too, just not sure what it is. here is a pic of what Cleco clamps and pliers look like. as you can see they have actual clamps and hole clamps for installing in a drilled hole to holding pannels before installing rivets.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2007
  14. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    yeah, I dunno whats up with that... the item# is: 41291. If you search for it on HFs site, it'll come up. I'm aware that it isn't bling... so long as it will actually work for 50 rivets I'll be happy. lol! Pretty much everything I do is high in labor, low in cost and low in convenience when it comes to tools. I'd like to have ALL the bling cool tools... just can't afford both cool tools and cool truck parts...

    as far as the cool gizmos to hold stuff while riveting... most of the stuff I am doing is already going to be connected with some standard hardware + panel adhesive before I start riveting anything. Oughta be enough to hold together... I hope. We'll see I guess. :thumb: Assuming the cool local hardware supplier is open, I'm gonna get some rivets to try tomorow.... oughta have pics by the end of the week of at least a few of them installed.

    j
     
  15. jarheadk5

    jarheadk5 1/2 ton status

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    If you're combining adhesive and rivets in the same joint, you should strongly consider riveting while the adhesive is still uncured. Riveting with uncured adhesive will squeeze out the excess adhesive (which will save a couple ounces of weight if you wipe it off :D ), and will allow you to use less adhesive in general (saves you money :D :haha: :waytogo: ).
     
  16. BadDog

    BadDog SOL Staff Member Super Moderator Author

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    Some adhesives are stronger when a very thin film is maintained, some are stronger with heavier thickness. IIRC, Urethane specifically tells you not to clamp pieces too tight for best results. My frame was glued in using vice grips where I only turned the screw rather than using compound leverage. And at many points it was held with cloths pins. It's taken some hard whacks and something like 3 years now in the AZ sun and heat with no signs of letting loose...
     
  17. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    That is on of the best things about cleco, they are cheep (I think that link I posted they around $.40 ea and the pliers were $5, but if you look you can find them cheaper) and for what you are using them for they will last for years. They really do make things a lot easier when you are drilling multiple holes- everything stays lined up exactly right. Each color body is for a different size hole so there is no slop. If you weren't on the wrong side of the country I'd let you use my stuff. Good luck either way.
     
  18. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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  19. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    tried my first rivet the other day... I flappered the paint off... drilled a hole... primered the bare metal and then gave it a try. I managed to get the rivet in there, but apparently I need to clamp the two piece of metal together better, because the fit is loose on the one I put in. I think when the mandrel went through, there was a small gap between the sheets. Oh well, the hardware store threw in 2 freebies... guess those were my practice ones. ;) I'll give it another try... this time with everything clamped together better.

    j
     
  20. bigjbear

    bigjbear 1 ton status Staff Member Moderator

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    That is why rdn & I were trying to push the Clecos on you. They are designed to prevent that.
     

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