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Old 12-11-2021, 02:32 PM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Angry Rivet/Drill Bit Help

Hey,

I bought my bus a few months ago and I'm working on getting the walls and ceiling off to insulate and whatnot. The issue is that they are riveted into place.

So I've been punching the centre of the rivet out then drilling the head off. It's tedious but manageable, sort of.

I've managed to bend 3 punches so far. I'm assuming that it's because I'm using the cheap home depot one. Would a better quality punch be worth the money?

I'm also going through drill bits like you wouldn't believe. At first it's like 15 seconds per rivet. It takes longer with each one, after like 20, it's up to over a nimute each. Doesn't sound too bad, except there are thousands of rivets!

I'm buying drill bits for metal but that doesn't seem to help. I've easily spent $100 on bits and barely made a dent. I bought a sharpener but i guess there is a bit of a learning curve because I think I made my practice bit more dull!

Where am I going wrong (besides buying a riveted bus rather than one with screws)? It's becoming frustrating and expensive.
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Old 12-11-2021, 02:41 PM   #2
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I made the same mistake until I learned an Air hammer will knock those things off in a second. I recommend going to harbor freight and buying a cheap air hammer and a chisel. It took me a full day to take 1 panel off with drill bits. I bought a air hammer and I was able to take the rest off in an hour the next day.
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Old 12-11-2021, 03:33 PM   #3
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Thanks, you're the second to suggest that to me. Would I need to protect the windows? I'm worried about damaging them
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Old 12-11-2021, 03:58 PM   #4
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Forum member and all-around helpful guy rossvtaylor made a video a while back about air hammer rivet removal:

https://youtu.be/ob5AlwY7_UU
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Old 12-11-2021, 04:51 PM   #5
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You wont damage them. Its not that powerful. Just be careful on the top rivets. I got all mine out with zero issues
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Old 12-11-2021, 06:41 PM   #6
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Use an air hammer with a punch bit- they're $15 at HF. punch the mandrels out. Then shear em off with a sharpened chisel bit in the air hammer.
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Old 12-11-2021, 06:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lcm0027 View Post
I made the same mistake until I learned an Air hammer will knock those things off in a second. I recommend going to harbor freight and buying a cheap air hammer and a chisel. It took me a full day to take 1 panel off with drill bits. I bought a air hammer and I was able to take the rest off in an hour the next day.
Yep once you get a rhythm going you can do a whole bus in an hour or so.
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Old 12-11-2021, 10:43 PM   #8
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Thanks, T7, for linking the video and for the compliment! Morgan, if you watch that video you'll see how quickly it goes with an air chisel. I showed a novice how to do it, in that video, and even she was pretty quick the first time through.

As mentioned above, the heads don't come off with enough force to hurt the windows.
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Old 12-12-2021, 03:18 PM   #9
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when we raised our roof we tucked new steel in the rivit holes above where the windows were. we used a grinder with a cut off wheel on the inside of the rivits but when we drilled the new steel (14 ga yes thick stuff) we drilled about 1,000 holes with only three bits (3/16) the trick is only buy cobalt bits. all other bits will not last. if you know how to harden steel you can get cheap bits to work but still will not last as long as cobalt. i only own cobalt up to 3/8.
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Old 01-04-2022, 07:12 PM   #10
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https://youtu.be/7GKPZBRNWKw
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Old 01-04-2022, 09:41 PM   #11
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Speed Kills

Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgan View Post
Hey,

I bought my bus a few months ago and I'm working on getting the walls and ceiling off to insulate and whatnot. The issue is that they are riveted into place.

So I've been punching the centre of the rivet out then drilling the head off. It's tedious but manageable, sort of.

I've managed to bend 3 punches so far. I'm assuming that it's because I'm using the cheap home depot one. Would a better quality punch be worth the money?

I'm also going through drill bits like you wouldn't believe. At first it's like 15 seconds per rivet. It takes longer with each one, after like 20, it's up to over a nimute each. Doesn't sound too bad, except there are thousands of rivets!

I'm buying drill bits for metal but that doesn't seem to help. I've easily spent $100 on bits and barely made a dent. I bought a sharpener but i guess there is a bit of a learning curve because I think I made my practice bit more dull!

Where am I going wrong (besides buying a riveted bus rather than one with screws)? It's becoming frustrating and expensive.
---------------‐------
All of the above suggestions are good stuff. Particularly, mmoore's method. I'm into heavy metals, as well. Or maybe not 'drill' the rivets, as echoed above.


If you must drill (or cut anything) you should know that friction dulls the cutting edge quickly.

Speed - much lower rpms,
Pressure - little to none
Lube - oil, silicone (not wd40)

Use high quality name brand bits (Diablo, Lenox, Dewalt) made with a substance harder than the steel which is being cut (cobalt, carbide). TTP HARD drill bits are 5% cobalt.

Always, start with a tiny pilot hole and step up to the next size until the hole is 'reamed' to the finish size.

I can't stress enough, Speed, Pressure, and lack of Lube will dull a blade in seconds. Properly operated blades/bits ought to last for 1000s of cuts - years. Use the correct (slow) speed and plenty of cooling lube on every pass.
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