Solid Rivet FAQ

What is a solid rivet? – Solid rivets, sometimes called aircraft rivets, are a solid piece of metal with a large head on one side and a straight shaft. They are installed by sliding them in a hole slightly bigger than the shaft, then deforming the protruding shaft to 1 ½ times its size, so it is tight and cannot pull out. They differ from pop rivets in that they are solid, therefor stronger, and use a buck bar and pneumatic gun to install them instead.

Why use a structural rivet? – In most cases solid rivets are used for the no nonsense, high performance, aeronautical style they represent. But they are also a much more permanent attachment method than sheet metal screws, but not as permanent as welding. Unlike a screwed in panel, riveted panels will not loosen up in high vibration applications either. Once installed you never have to worry about keeping them tight.

What are the 2 sides of a rivet called? – In the building trades, where girders are riveted all day long, the larger head is referred to as the Factory Head. After installation the new head that was upset or bucked on the other side is called the Buck Tail or Shop Head.

What materials do solid rivets come in? – Eastwood’s solid rivet kit comes with easy to buck 1000 series aluminum alloy rivets. Other materials that are available from various sources are mild steel, stainless steel, other types of aluminum, brass, copper, nickel alloys and even titanium.

How do you install solid rivets? – Installation is easy, but can take some practice to get perfect. Simply insert the rivet into the proper sized hole. Put the buck bar on the back of the shaft. Apply the pneumatic gun to the factory head and pull the trigger in a short burst. The shaft should flare out into a proper shop head with little effort. Try to apply the correct pressure and get it right the first time, with each hit the rivet will work harden some, making it harder to deform.

What is a clinch allowance? – Clinch allowance is the proper amount of material sticking out of the metal being riveted to obtain a tight fit when riveting. Too little and the buck head will be too small, too much and it may bend to one side instead of being upset evenly all the way around

How do I know the proper length rivet to use? – In order to choose the correct length, it helps to know the cinch allowance. But, since we are not building military aircraft you can use your best guess. The proper way is to measure the thickness of the pieces being riveted and add the cinch allowance for the diameter of rivet you want to use.

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