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First rivets = first blood

I got my pneumatic tools and compressor all connected, oiled and tested yesterday. I was keen to experiment with this stuff and get a feel for these tools. Using some spare alclad I drilled some holes between two strips and tried out the rivet gun and bucking bar. The shortest -4 rivets I had were too long but I wanted to see how easy it was to bend rivets over, make smileys, etc.

I managed to set the first rivet (upper middle in photo) although being too long the shop head started to lean over. I used a fair amount of pressure to push the rivet gun and bucking bar together in a squeezing motion but I managed to keep the rivet set on the head.

For the second rivet I tried to use a lower amount of force pushing the rivet gun and bucking bar into the metal. I was trying to get a fell what a lot of the blogs and You Tube videos describe as “firm” pressure. The result? The rivet head danced off the factory head, made a smiley on the rivet, then danced onto the alclad, make a smiley on the metal surface, then slipped off the edge of the sheet and made a smiley on my finger holding the bucking bar. First blood. This happened in the blink of an eye. I had my compressor set at 90 psi and my in-line restrictor on the lowest setting (smallest rivet force) so I don’t think I had my pressure too high – but you never know. I might have to investigate adjusting the compressor setting to the recommended psi for the rivet and remove the in-line restrictor. I’ll try that later.

Then I thought I’d try back riveting, since this is supposed to be “easy”. The shortest flush rivets I had were too long for 2 sheets so I went with 3 sheets. I broke the edges, rounded to corners and dimpled a row of holes.

The shortest rivets were now too short so I went for the next longest ones.

Then I inserted some rivets and taped them into place.

Then I used the back riveting set and went to work. Not too bad for a first attempt but not perfect. I think the shop heads are “set” enough but the heads are all on a slight angle. I must not have had the rivet gun exactly perpendicular. I reckon I’ll make some more practice sheets and have different sized holes for different rivets. I’m thinking a piece that will have flush rivets, some squeezed rivets and some shot rivets would be great. I can then show these to the TC and get his go/no-go for riveting on the kit.


About gstrack

Husband and father of 2. Control & Instrumentation Engineer. Flying nut. Gadget geek.


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