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More rivet practice

Managed to get back into the shed today. I was keen to make a 2nd test piece that would allow me to try several different rivet sets in the one piece. I made a test piece using 3 strips of 0.025″ alclad. Two of the strips were the same size but the third strip was only about 1/3 of the size of the other strips. I made it this way because my -3 flush rivets needed 3 sheets to have the right tail length, but my -4 rivets only needed 2. I drilled a few holes in them, deburred then gave them to my Chief Dimpler to dimple the #40 holes for the -3 flush rivets. He did a great job!

I clecoed the pieces together and taped in the first few flush rivets, then put the piece in the vice ready to rivet.

Then I tried out the mushroom head to set the flush rivets using the bucking bar. I was reasonably happy with my backrivet set and wanted to try out the mushroom head this time round. I like the mushroom head. It was easy to control and keep the set on the rivet head.

I also experimented with different trigger pulse lengths. You can see the different heights in the set rivet in this shot. I reckon the one on the left needs a few more whacks, the one in the middle is about right, and the one on the right is over done.

Time for the -4 rivets. I checked the tail length to make sure these were ok. No excuses for rivets bending over now!

I shot the middle of the 3 rows of #30 holes using the standard rivet set and bucking bar. This time I was much more careful using the trigger. I didn’t give it a blast this time. Instead I lightly squeezed the trigger to give it a few “soft” whacks to start, then slowly squeezed the trigger a little further to increase the force slowly whilst I watched the shop head form. I didn’t go anywhere near the full trigger squeeze, and as soon as the shop head started looking right I released the trigger. The last whack or two that occurred whilst I was doing this was enough to finish setting the head.

Then I tried the squeezer. Using the set -4 rivets as a guide, I adjusted the squeeze gap until it looked about right then gave the next rivet a squeeze. It was slightly under-set to I made a couple of fine adjustments then squeezed the rivet again. Perfect. I put in a couple more rivets and squeezed them also. They all look identical. I love this thing! I’m very glad I bought one of these pneumatic squeezers. Even makes me look like a pro. Whilst I’m reasonably comfortable using a rivet gun with a normal or mushroom head, I reckon I’ll try and use the squeezer wherever possible.

I’d heard that using the offset head was a real pain. After trying it out I’d have to disagree. It’s a freaking nightmare! I hate that thing.

The first rivet I set was a little bit skewed. The head looked reasonable but it just wasn’t centred. The other two I tried I didn’t even bother to set fully. They started bending over within the first few strikes. It’s very hard to get the set perpendicular. I’m going to have to practice a bit more using the offset head before riveting for real on the kit. I’ll do that later in the build as I’m not expecting the need for it anytime soon.

Overall I’m pretty happy with my experimenting today. The closest rivets in the next photo are the ones from the squeezer. They look great! The middle row behind them are the shot ones using the normal set. The look pretty good too. The ones in the back are the crappy offset heads.

I’m going to show this test piece to the Technical Councillor and see what he says but I’m happy to start riveting on the kit now. No build time to add to the ledger over the past 2 days, but it’s been time well spent. I’m much more familiar with the pneumatic tools, and have gotten a much better feel for the rivet gun.


About gstrack

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


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