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Old 04-13-2020, 09:35 AM   #1
Mini-Skoolie
 
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Where to get solid rivet equipment?

Hi all,

We will start installing Solid Rivets this weekend if possible. We switched from pop/blind rivets because solid rivets are stronger, cheaper, and able to be cut to size as needed.

Apparently pop/blind rivets are the only ones that consumers use regularly, because the equipment to put solid rivets in has so far eluded us.

We found some on McMaster Carr for about $400, but not much else in terms of sites we are familiar with.

Does anybody have a good source for Solid Riveting equipment that is capable of installing 1/4 Inch Steel Solid Rivets?
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:40 AM   #2
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I could have sworn I had seen this one last night from Hanson Rivet & Supply Co and it was much more expensive.

$230 for the whole kit seems pretty reasonable. And still much cheaper than the extra cost that comes with pop rivets. What do y'all think?
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Old 04-13-2020, 09:49 AM   #3
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I bought a 4x rivet gun on ebay. It was a long time ago, but I think it cost somewhere around $120 after shipping and everything. It's still going strong after many years and thousands of rivets!
Also worth noting, 1/4" solid rivets are a bear to work with. My Thomas was all solid 3/16" rivets which are much easier to buck. I bought a handful of 1/4" rivets to use in places where I wallowed out the hole too big for the 3/16" rivets. Probably used about a dozen of the quarter inchers.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:10 PM   #4
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You can get the mandrels from McMaster Carr. You can get away with using a harbor freight air hammer. It's the same tool as a rivet guy. Ours broke and we ended up upgrading to a kobalt gun. You need an air compressor that will keep up. Husky 30 gallon from home Depot was adequate. You'll also need bucking bars to shape the back side of the rivet. I think I bought them from eBay for a multi pack.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:14 PM   #5
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From my experience there is a difference between an air chisel and a rivet gun. At least when I compare my air chisel against my rivet gun.
The air chisel has more throw. It will bounce around a lot more, which can lead to jumping off of the rivet and smashing into the sheet metal - leaving a dent.
The rivet gun has less throw. It doesn't bounce around as much. It also hammers more times per second.
All that said, you can definitely get away with an air chisel as a rivet gun if you're careful. Likewise, you can use a rivet gun as a crappy air chisel in a pinch.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:39 PM   #6
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I would have to defer to you on knowledge of the differences between the two. We did experience the "jump" of the air hammer on a few rivet heads but after setting over 1000 rivets I'd say it happened on a dozen. You don't have to spend $$$$ to get the solid rivet job done on a roof raise bus.
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Old 04-13-2020, 12:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rochey6957 View Post
You don't have to spend $$$$ to get the solid rivet job done on a roof raise bus.

You're right on that! I was pretty happy about my $120 CAD kit. Came with the gun and an assortment of mandrels. No case, though.
I ended up using an old tackle box to store the gun, mandrels, bucking bar and an assortment of rivets. Works a treat!
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Old 04-13-2020, 01:07 PM   #8
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One thing we hadn't considered, how well do solid rivets "pull" the two sheets together?

I know that with pop rivets, the material being joined is pulled tight against one another, leaving almost no gap between them. Is this the case for solid rivets?
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:16 PM   #9
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You need to predrill and clamp your panels with clecos before bucking. They will pull in as tight as you have them clampped/ can physically push the sheets together.
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Old 04-13-2020, 02:23 PM   #10
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Where only two sheets come together it will pull in really well. Where many sheet come together it will be tricky...

A tip we leanerd was to use some appropriately sized washers on the back side of the rivet. This helps in situations where an existing hole is blown out from rivet removal etc. Keep that in mind. It might save you from haveing to upsize to 1/4 or larger in some places. You will need both 1/4 and 3/16 in a few different lengths.
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rochey6957 View Post
Where only two sheets come together it will pull in really well. Where many sheet come together it will be tricky...

A tip we leanerd was to use some appropriately sized washers on the back side of the rivet. This helps in situations where an existing hole is blown out from rivet removal etc. Keep that in mind. It might save you from haveing to upsize to 1/4 or larger in some places. You will need both 1/4 and 3/16 in a few different lengths.
The washer is a good idea. Thank you.

What did you do when multiple pieces of metal came together and wasn’t clamped well enough?
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Old 04-13-2020, 08:51 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Truffles View Post
The washer is a good idea. Thank you.

What did you do when multiple pieces of metal came together and wasn’t clamped well enough?
I would use nuts and bolts for such holes since you need two people with one on the inside for doing solid riveting anyway. You can also use nuts and bolts as essentially clamps or clecos, putting them through a few of the holes to draw all the pieces together tightly, then riveting all the remaining holes, then removing the bolts one by one and riveting those holes as well.

I've found with pop rivets (and especially with rivnuts) that they're good at holding two sheets together but not so good at drawing them together when they're not tightly-fit to begin with. The problem seems to be that when two sheets are not tight together, the pop rivet or rivnut can bulge out in between the sheets instead of on the other side of both sheets like it should. I've done a lot less with solid rivets, but those seem to work better for pulling two sheets together (as well as holding them together, of course) because they will deform on each side but never in between two sheets.
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Old 04-18-2020, 03:50 PM   #13
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Aircraft spruce
https://www.yardstore.com/
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Old 04-18-2020, 04:24 PM   #14
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What type solid rivet?

Have any of you who have used bucked rivets used the mild steel type? I have plenty of experience with AN structural aluminum rivets in airframe repair, but have never tried driving/bucking the steel variety. If the horribly mangled rivets in my Thomas are any indication, they're not easy to install.
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Old 04-18-2020, 08:08 PM   #15
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Steel is a bit more difficult

Equipment is the key
The other rivet company I was trying to remember. https://www.hansonrivet.com/tools-ma...vet-squeezers/

There is a company in England that is great for riveting supplies. Especially solid rivets for planes and race cars.
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Old 04-19-2020, 02:48 PM   #16
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Barrow yourself the AC43-13 Airframe manual from an F.B.O. small airport aircraft mechanic. pic that guys brain about sheetmetal. He'll guild you to the expert if he doesn't do sheetmetal. Study the section about rivet installation if you want to do it right and no leaks. It's a small fortune in tooling but you can re-sell it reasonably if you buy used still. Yes you'll need min. a 5X gun, Tungsten bucking bar, Regular and Draw-clecos with the right pliers, deburring tools, 2part-sealant, eye-n-ear protection.. ect.... and back-up plans for screw-ups because you WILL have some. Be prepared. Once you and your partner have practiced enough on junk metals to feel like your good enough for the real thing, then the fun begins.
good luck It's an Art. Practice is Key. If one of you ain't getting it. then find someone who can because you will do more damage than it's worth.
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