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Old 10-11-2010, 20:17   #1
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Pop Rivet Experts ?

I feel like I've got crimping and crimping tools down. Had a pretty good ratcheting crimper for years and last year upgraded to an Anchor crimper, but I'm a pop rivet newbie.

So, do you need a "good" pop rivet tool or does any old cheapo from Home Depot get the job done? is there a pop rivet tool comparable to the Anchor crimper? Is there any trick to making a proper pop rivet connection?

What about the rivets? Is there the good stuff and the cheapo home store stuff? What about the different metals? Can you or should you get 316 SS pop rivets? What about Al? Can you get 6061? Do you need to?

This seems like too many questions. Maybe someone needs to refer me to a book to read.

PS
I did vaguely search the archives for pop rivet information but nothing jumped out at me. However, if I missed the definitive thread on pop rivets feel free to point me at it with proper chastisement for my lack of search skills.
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Old 10-11-2010, 20:32   #2
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If you are using aluminum pop rivets, most of the name brand guns (including Home Depot) work just fine. I have a Sears Craftsman and an Arrow at the moment. If you are using SS rivets, look for something like a "Big Daddy" to provide enough power to set the rivet.
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Old 10-11-2010, 22:15   #3
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One thing you have to watch out for with rivets is that you can buy the rivet in one metal and the shank in another metal.

e.g. aluminum rivet w/SS shank or steel shank. Or SS rivet w/steel shank.
So, when you buy rivets be sure you get alum. rivets with alum. shanks & SS rivets with SS shanks.

Anything over 3/16" you're going to need an over sized gun or an air gun. I'm not sure about the new china brands but their pretty simple and should do OK. After all they are just a copy of an old USA design.

I buy most of my rivets from WW Graninger, McMaster-Carr or Tacoma Screw. That way I get what I want!

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Old 10-11-2010, 22:21   #4
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Not an expert but I believe "pop" is a brand. There are several types of rivets that can be done from one side and the strengths are different. For instance in aircraft cheap pop (blind) rivits that you see in the hardware store aren't used but one of several types that are designed to retain their center mandrel and it's strength. They are available in aluminum, steel, ss, monel, copper. Strength relates to material and size. As I recall from working for a short stint in aircraft repair I believe that it is required that with Cherry friction locks that retain their mandrel, one size larger than the solid rivit it replaces is needed to satisfy the FAA (and installed or at least signed off by an A&P). On modern boats all I have seen are those pathetic hollow things you get at Wallmart. I guess it all depends on what they are used for. Of course the solid rivit is a different story. I just saw a 1914 square rigger whos steel hull plates are rivitted on and she's going strong. In to port in Georgetown, Bermuda for Saryna. Properly installed and proportioned solid rivits can be tighter and stronger than bolts. I did a lot of solid riviting in steel and when a hot rivit contracts after being headed the already tight joint draws in with serious force!
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Old 10-11-2010, 22:34   #5
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Craftsman. Contractor grade. At least for aluminum rivets.
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Old 10-11-2010, 22:53   #6
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Riveting work

I've had good service from Hanson Rivet & Supply in Los Angeles (tel 800 777 4838, Hanson Rivet and Supply Co., rivets, rivet, riveters, riveting, machines, tubular, semi-tubular, solid, blind, pop, fasteners, drive, hardware, orbital, pneumatic, squeezers, split, tinners, shoulder, usm, ms, tools, aerospace, aircraft, threaded, in). They have several different kinds of pop rivet in several different head styles, in several different materials - ss, monel, aluminum, &c. An embarrassment of riches. Good luck.
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Old 11-11-2010, 07:38   #7
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The heads of my rivets attaching the vang to the boom keep breaking off.
I am using a cheap, small riveter, and I'm on the hunt to borrow a big one to see if it works better.

Thanks for the reminder. Its on my work list and I'd forgotten about it! LOL Would have been terrific if I had gotten to sea....
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:00   #8
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Markj your rivets are sheering because they are to weak to give good compression when used. you need better quality rivets and then prob a better gun to seat them
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:06   #9
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Aluminum pop rivets are not generally strong enough to fasten a vang to a boom. They fatigue too easily. Use ss rivets or machine screws to be safe. My system uses a welded aluminum tang at the top of the vang and a ss fitting with ss rivets at the bottom.
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Old 11-11-2010, 09:34   #10
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Thanks mike d and sded



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Old 11-11-2010, 18:43   #11
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hmm this is a good thread. i was about to pop rivet some mast steps onto my aluminum mast with my extraordinary collection of odd bits and junk lying in the bottom of the rivet -tool box. now before i do that i will actually check what strength and size of rivets the step manufacturer recommends i must use to keep from ending up in the drink from a failed mast step. --avoiding falling in the drink being the reason i am putting up mast stepps instead of hauling my own self up on jumars.
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Old 11-11-2010, 18:59   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MitchM View Post
hmm this is a good thread. i was about to pop rivet some mast steps onto my aluminum mast with my extraordinary collection of odd bits and junk lying in the bottom of the rivet -tool box. now before i do that i will actually check what strength and size of rivets the step manufacturer recommends i must use to keep from ending up in the drink from a failed mast step. --avoiding falling in the drink being the reason i am putting up mast stepps instead of hauling my own self up on jumars.
I also have mast steps, attached with SS machine screws tapped into the mast. SS rivets would probably work, but this is easy and quite strong/foolproof.
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Old 11-11-2010, 19:26   #13
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Just one note I would add is that some of the larger rivet guns come with a plastic bottle to catch the mandrels that detach from the rivets. This can be extremely usefull if you are working on something up high on the mast, and don't wish to mess up the paint job below with falling debris. It is also safer for anyone working below you too.

PS
If you are in a bind and cannot obtain rivets that have the same metal mandrel (SS rivets with mild steel mandrels), you can use a small punch to drive out the heads after you have "popped" the rivets.
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Old 11-11-2010, 19:50   #14
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As a sort of disclaimer, my only point of view with pop rivets comes from putting aluminum bodies on race cars. On boats, I have no experience whatsoever with pop rivets. That being said...

If you are not working "blind" - that is, if you can get at the back of your work, rivet "washers" make the rivet hold MUCH better. Harder to drill out if you need to remove/replace whatever you've riveted, but unless it's something you're going to be removing all the time, that's a minor issue.

And, if you're going to be doing a LOT of riveting, invest in a pneumatic rivet gun. In my experience the hold is slightly better than a manual rivet gun when using washers, about the same if not, but - if you're going to be doing a lot of riveting, your arm will thank you.

Peace,

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Old 11-11-2010, 20:31   #15
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Thanks for all the input. I am now feeling much smarter about rivets.

A couple of comments and further questions.

- I did check and "Pop" rivets is indeed a trade name but is so common that it is often used as the generic name for what I have learned are "blind" rivets.

- I wondered if Big Daddy was the description of a proper tool or the actual name. Google informed me it was the latter but $130 is a heap of money for a tool I may use a couple of times. Maybe my buddy with the machine shop has one he will loan me. Have to call him tomorrow.

- Went to the Hanson web site and looks like a great resource for all things rivet.

So to the question.

I have a strong urge to use aluminum rivets when mounting stuff to my aluminum mast. One less metallurgical mismatch to worry about, insulate or coat with expensive goop. From MarkJ's experience with his vang that seems that Al rivets are not suitable for really heavy loads but what about a lighter load like mast steps? What about a spinnaker pole track on the mast? If Al is not good enough how does one insulate the SS rivet from the Al mast?

Thanks again.

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