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Old 03-07-2018, 08:40 PM   #1
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Removing exterior rivets?

Hey Everyone,

I found and used the air chisel method that is well documented here to remove the interior metal from my Bluebird.

Now I am ready to to start on exterior work. Is the air chisel still the tool of choice? Should I drill the centers out first?

What method has worked best for you?

Thanks.

S.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:46 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by PNW_Steve View Post
Hey Everyone,

I found and used the air chisel method that is well documented here to remove the interior metal from my Bluebird.

Now I am ready to to start on exterior work. Is the air chisel still the tool of choice? Should I drill the centers out first?

What method has worked best for you?

Thanks.

S.
You only punch the centers of blind rivets as they are the ones with the hard mandrels in them.

Solid rivets should just chisel off.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:53 PM   #3
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Thanks Twigg.

I was not sure. I know that some of the build threads that I have read did detail drilling the bucked rivets and I did not understand why. Sounds like it is not needed.
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Old 03-07-2018, 08:56 PM   #4
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Thanks Twigg.

I was not sure. I know that some of the build threads that I have read did detail drilling the bucked rivets and I did not understand why. Sounds like it is not needed.
It would make it easier to chisel them, but I think the air-chisel has plenty of power so I wouldn't be inclined to use up my cobalt bits that way.
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:28 PM   #5
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I don't know. If you're not careful you would damage the metal that you plan on keeping. That doesn't matter to anyone on the inside, you know?
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:35 PM   #6
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I don't know. If you're not careful you would damage the metal that you plan on keeping. That doesn't matter to anyone on the inside, you know?
Good point.

What do you recommend?
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Old 03-07-2018, 09:40 PM   #7
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I would drill the center out more carefully and tap it with a regular chisel.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:16 PM   #8
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I would drill the center out more carefully and tap it with a regular chisel.
I can't think why anyone would be removing exterior rivets without later replacing them with either new rivets, or screws. What would be the point? Rivets are usually removed from the outside to re-skin.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:22 PM   #9
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I just mean some of the metal from the outside you might not want gouged. You can easily end up making a bigger hole then you intended that a new rivet wouldn't cover up.
Personally I'm thinking about my rub rails I will be modifying and the edges of the windows
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:27 PM   #10
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Look for a widget called a "rivet shaver". They can take the head off without destroying lots of metal around them.
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Old 03-07-2018, 10:31 PM   #11
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I just mean some of the metal from the outside you might not want gouged. You can easily end up making a bigger hole then you intended that a new rivet wouldn't cover up.
Personally I'm thinking about my rub rails I will be modifying and the edges of the windows
Good points.
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Old 03-10-2018, 04:53 PM   #12
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Well..... I am not having a great deal of luck.

I looked at the rivet shaver. Every example I could find of it being used was on aluminum rivets. Also, they were $600-$900. Am I looking in the wrong place?

I tried cutting the heads off with a cutoff disc and angle grinder and did major damage to the metal underneath. That is ok on the metal between the windows as I am going to throw that away. Not so good on the rub rail that I am going to keep.

I tried cutting the heads off with my air chisel that I cut all of the interior rivets with. Again, too much damage to the underlying metal. Also, these are tough suckers and, including waiting for my compressor to catch up, took me 7-8 minutes to cut one rivet.

The I picked up a 40 grit flap disc for my angle grinder. Again, it is ok for the metal between the windows but I am still removing quite a bit of the underlying metal. Also, when I try and knock the body of the rivet out I am freeing up the rub rail. It pops away from the body of the bus but the body of the rivet is staying in the hole in the frame and I have not figured out how to get it out.

I tried grinding most of the head off then drilling. Again the rub rail comes loose from the rivet but the body of the rivet remains in the hole on about half of the rivets. Also, I bought an $8 bit to try this with. Careful to keep it cool. After about 6 rivets it is showing signs of dulling.

Any suggestions?
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:32 PM   #13
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Check out the center drill fixture I made here:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/so...r-8810-12.html

I used a piece of round stock and turned it down on a lathe to allow a valve spring off a small Briggs & Stratton engine to slip around it and the drill chuck. I drilled a 3/16" hole down the center and countersunk it a bit to align on the rivet head. It works great. I use it to get a dimple started and then drill with a 3/16" drill into the rivet head. It's then just a simple tap with a hammer and cold chisel to remove the heads without destroying things. Easy peasy.
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Old 03-10-2018, 05:35 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by sojourner View Post
Check out the center drill fixture I made here:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/so...r-8810-12.html

I used a piece of round stock and turned it down on a lathe to allow a valve spring off a small Briggs & Stratton engine to slip around it and the drill chuck. I drilled a 3/16" hole down the center and countersunk it a bit to align on the rivet head. It works great. I use it to get a dimple started and then drill with a 3/16" drill into the rivet head. It's then just a simple tap with a hammer and cold chisel to remove the heads without destroying things. Easy peasy.
Very nice solution.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:13 PM   #15
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Check out the center drill fixture I made here:

http://www.skoolie.net/forums/f11/so...r-8810-12.html

I used a piece of round stock and turned it down on a lathe to allow a valve spring off a small Briggs & Stratton engine to slip around it and the drill chuck. I drilled a 3/16" hole down the center and countersunk it a bit to align on the rivet head. It works great. I use it to get a dimple started and then drill with a 3/16" drill into the rivet head. It's then just a simple tap with a hammer and cold chisel to remove the heads without destroying things. Easy peasy.
I don't think that link takes me to the right page in your thread. What post number discusses the tool?
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:24 PM   #16
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I don't think that link takes me to the right page in your thread. What post number discusses the tool?
Post #115 is the one.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:42 PM   #17
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Post #115 is the one.
Thanks, most forums are set up to have the 1st post at the top and the then follow with subsequent. I set mine up so it shows last post first, so I don't to click to back pages to get current. When I click his link it take me to page 12 and post#, Post #115 is on page 58 for me.

Nice tool. On my motorcycle forums we have a honor loan a tool program. There are a lot of specific tools needed to rebuild triumph motorcycles. The tools aren't cheap and you may use them only once every decade. So the members allow other members to borrow the tools by just paying shipping to and return shipping unless some other member in line borrows it fro you and then they pay shipping. Would you consider loaning that tool, Sojourner to those who might need it?
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:53 PM   #18
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Nice tool. On my motorcycle forums we have a honor loan a tool program. There are a lot of specific tools needed to rebuild triumph motorcycles. The tools aren't cheap and you may use them only once every decade. So the members allow other members to borrow the tools by just paying shipping to and return shipping unless some other member in line borrows it fro you and then they pay shipping. Would you consider loaning that tool, Sojourner to those who might need it?
I wouldn't be able part with it as I still use it. It's really not that hard to make though if you know someone with a small lathe.
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Old 03-10-2018, 06:56 PM   #19
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You now must make them for everyone. With great power tools comes great responsibility.
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Old 03-10-2018, 07:13 PM   #20
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I wouldn't be able part with it as I still use it. It's really not that hard to make though if you know someone with a small lathe.
Just throwing it out there for the future. Once done with your current bus that tool will get tossed in the back of the tool box for years. I did notice many of the rivits don't have the center mandrel and that makes them hard to drill out. was that a 2 man operation to install that type rivit?

It can be even simpler than yours by cutting out the step at the end. 3/8-1/2" piece with one hole and one concave. I just thought of an easier way by just cutting the piece to length, drill the appropriate size drill hole through and then a drill bit the diameter of the rivit head to bore in the end, no lathe require, only the tools we all already have.
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