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Old 06-03-2019, 08:57 AM   #1
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Bare minimum gear for riveting?

I need to rivet some patches on my bus. I was planning to use my crappy Harbor Freight hand-riveter but I realized I'm not going to have the arm strength for doing that. What's a good rivet gun/air compressor combo that will do the job (I might have to put in a few hundred 1/4" rivets all told) without being super-expensive? I'm willing to consider Harbor Freight's own offerings although their stuff is certainly questionable.

What's a good source for rivets?
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Old 06-03-2019, 09:51 AM   #2
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I've got a $70 Harbor freight pneumatic riveter that's worked pretty decently. Its a big improvement over hand riveting.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:02 AM   #3
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I've got a $70 Harbor freight pneumatic riveter that's worked pretty decently. Its a big improvement over hand riveting.
This one? https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62685.html I was wondering what the difference is between that and the "professional" one (which is like twice as much).

Did you also get an HF compressor? I saw an AvE video recently where he talks about how the manufacturers basically outright lie about the capacity of compressors so I'm extra-uncertain about which to get.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:06 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
This one? https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62685.html I was wondering what the difference is between that and the "professional" one (which is like twice as much).

Did you also get an HF compressor? I saw an AvE video recently where he talks about how the manufacturers basically outright lie about the capacity of compressors so I'm extra-uncertain about which to get.
I borrow a friends' compressor. Its a cheapo but its powerful enough and has a 60 gal tank.

When I got my riveter they had one for like $40 that did rivets up to 3/16 and one for $70 that did up to 1/4. The one you linked looks like the one I've got but painted black instead of teal blue.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:08 AM   #5
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The one you linked is the one I use also. I tapped into my air brake system rather than get a separate compressor, which is good for most low and medium flow tools (riveter, drill, metal shears, air chisel, etc). I've done hundreds of rivets on my bus.
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Old 06-03-2019, 10:16 AM   #6
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:28 PM   #7
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Do you want to do solid bucked rivets or blind rivets?


For solid rivets I've been quite happy with a Chicago Pneumatic 4X rivet gun. It hammers the head of the rivet while an assistant holds a bucking bar on the other side. (I picked a 3 pound bar)


For blind aka Pop rivets I've used a HF pneumatic unit similar/same as the one mentioned by ECCB. I finally broke the jaw inside the riveter -- it's a two-piece cast part and fractured. I've welded that little piece back together a couple of times now.. Apart from this the HF tool has worked well for me.


Air demand for the HF tool isn't too bad -- more than what an air nailer requires, I guess, but you could probably get along even with a pancake compressor. The CP gun for solid rivets is a regular (large) air chisel and takes more air.


I've bought both solid and blind rivets from Hanson Rivet and from Jay-Cee Sales aka rivetsonline.com or rivetsinstock.com.
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Old 06-03-2019, 12:56 PM   #8
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"Air demand for the HF tool isn't too bad -- more than what an air nailer requires, I guess, but you could probably get along even with a pancake compressor. The CP gun for solid rivets is a regular (large) air chisel and takes more air."


an air tool should have the cubic feet per minute ( cfm ) at 90 lbs +/- listed on it's instructions - when buying a compressor, if it doesn't list cfm @ what ever lbs, and instead says it's a 3 horse power, or 5 gal tank, it's not likely to do the job - get a compressor that's rated to do the job of allowing the air tool in question to do it's job - if a tool requires 20 cfm @ 90 lbs, then buy, rent, or borrow a compressor that is capable of handling at least that load
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:03 PM   #9
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So I bought a 1/4 pneumatic riveter at HF: https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62685.html

According to this it needs 4.5 CFM at 90 PSI, so I'm trying to figure out what compressor to get to go with it. If I get something that's not rated quite that high, what are the consequences? Will the riveter not work at all or will I just have to wait longer after each rivet for the tank to re-pressurize?

I'm trying to spend the bare minimum on a compressor since I'm not planning on doing an enormous amount of riveting (I'll need to do maybe 250 rivets in total).

I found a good Dewalt one on craigslist that is something like 5.1 SCFM, but the seller says the pressure gauge is set at 120 PSI and can't be changed - I'm not sure how bad that is, but seems like a bad idea (this particular model sells new for $380 or so and it's selling for $125).
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:11 PM   #10
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I feel like the obvious answer is what I outlined above. Your bus already has a compressor, and you don't sound like you're planning to use tools that need more juice than it can deliver. I for sure wouldn't spend the extra money on another compressor and then have to figure out how to power it, where to store it, etc.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:16 PM   #11
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There are two things to consider: air tank size and pump capacity. The number of rivets you can do back-to-back depends on the tank size. The length of time you have to wait for the pump to recover the pressure in the tank depends on the size of the pump. At some point the pump gets big enough that it can sustain continuous riveting operations. Even a little pancake compressor holds enough air in the tank to pull at least one or two rivets with that gun, and then you'd have to wait for it to build pressure again.


That one you found in the classifieds isn't a bad deal. It could be that the gauge or the regulator is broken. Both are fairly easy and inexpensive to replace. You could also/alternatively use an inline regulator and not worry about fixing the the integrated gauge/regulator on the compressor.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:18 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
So I bought a 1/4 pneumatic riveter at HF: https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62685.html

According to this it needs 4.5 CFM at 90 PSI, so I'm trying to figure out what compressor to get to go with it. If I get something that's not rated quite that high, what are the consequences? Will the riveter not work at all or will I just have to wait longer after each rivet for the tank to re-pressurize?

I'm trying to spend the bare minimum on a compressor since I'm not planning on doing an enormous amount of riveting (I'll need to do maybe 250 rivets in total).

I found a good Dewalt one on craigslist that is something like 5.1 SCFM, but the seller says the pressure gauge is set at 120 PSI and can't be changed - I'm not sure how bad that is, but seems like a bad idea (this particular model sells new for $380 or so and it's selling for $125).
Just about any compressor is going to fit the needs of the air riveter. There won't be any catch up waiting on the compressor as you can't do multiple rivets at a time. You are going to change your mind about the opinion of not doing an enormous amount of rivets after 250 of them.
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Old 06-05-2019, 12:27 PM   #13
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I feel like the obvious answer is what I outlined above. Your bus already has a compressor, and you don't sound like you're planning to use tools that need more juice than it can deliver. I for sure wouldn't spend the extra money on another compressor and then have to figure out how to power it, where to store it, etc.
that's what I would do if my bus had a compressor
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:30 PM   #14
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I feel like the obvious answer is what I outlined above. Your bus already has a compressor, and you don't sound like you're planning to use tools that need more juice than it can deliver. I for sure wouldn't spend the extra money on another compressor and then have to figure out how to power it, where to store it, etc.
It's maybe not that obvious. My bus is about 40 minutes away and right now I'm trying to learn how to do everything (including riveting) by working on test pieces at my house. The compressor on my bus is also potentially not that healthy. So I still want to get a portable one, just not sure which.
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Old 06-05-2019, 01:33 PM   #15
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That's a fair statement. The rivet gun will work with basically any compressor that includes a tank, as it really doesn't require much air to use. Other tools may be different but you don't have to over-engineer the rivet gun.
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Old 06-07-2019, 08:36 AM   #16
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Ive been using this for all my tools now. I picked it up during a sale for $125 and it goes on sale quite often. It's one of the oil types so make sure to grab a bottle or two of that. It doesn't use oil fast at all and if you follow the break in procedure (fill with oil, run for 30 min with all valves wide open, let cool, change oil after one full hour of use) it's pretty reliable.

I leave mine in the currently uninsulated bus and haven't had a problem yet. If you're using an extension cord make sure it is rated for the amperage of the compressor or you'll get some pump motor issues. Wouldn't recommend it for painting/spray gun use but it's done everything else I've needed it to.

https://www.harborfreight.com/10-gal...sor-62441.html
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Old 06-07-2019, 09:39 AM   #17
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I've got a husky 30 gallon oil less compressor from home depot. It has wheels so its mobile. Been good so far 2 years of use. It has a hard time keeping up with cutting tools.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:20 PM   #18
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Having done a number of pop rivets, I can safely say any compressor with a tank will run it. I used my Husky 30 gallon compressor, and a 2014 Volvo VN road tractor as my air source, but the air riveter uses relatively little air and you can easily await a smaller compressor to catch up with you (in fact, you can continue working as it runs). I doubt you'll install rivets faster than the compressor can keep up.
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Old 06-07-2019, 01:32 PM   #19
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I have a 5hp, 20 gallon, 5.8cfm@90psi compressor and the Harbor Freight rivet gun.

If I work at a moderate pace the compressor does just fine. If I place a bunch of rivets in place and then come back and hit them with the rivet gun I can outrun the compressor. I takes some work though.

I have found that a hammer is handy as well. A number of the 3/16" rivets had to be gently tapped into place.

Cleco's can be handy but not absolutely necessary.
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Old 06-16-2019, 01:58 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by musigenesis View Post
So I bought a 1/4 pneumatic riveter at HF: https://www.harborfreight.com/14-in-...ter-62685.html

I found a good Dewalt one on craigslist that is something like 5.1 SCFM, but the seller says the pressure gauge is set at 120 PSI and can't be changed - I'm not sure how bad that is, but seems like a bad idea (this particular model sells new for $380 or so and it's selling for $125).



Reading between the lines here, it sounds to me that there is a little misunderstanding going on here. Compressors usually come with an air gauge that shows the pressure in the tank. (this would be the one that " the seller says the pressure gauge is set at 120 PSI and can't be changed"



Then some come with a second gauge attached to a pressure regulator. Many compressors don't come with a regulator and you have to supply one yourself. The regulator is what you adjust the pressure down with to the operating pressure of the tool. Most tools operate @ 90psi or less.



In addition, there is an electric pressure switch which turns the motor on and off (typically on @ 100psi off @ 120 for smaller units) Some switches are adjustable, some factory set. The gauge connected straight to the tank can be used to monitor the pressures that the switch is turning on/off but has nothing to do with setting the operating pressure for the tool if you have a regulator (unless, of course, you have a compressor that is too small for the tool and doesn't produce enough pressure & cfm to stay above the settings on the regulator. In that case both gauges will show the same low pressure.)




Hope this made sense.
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