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Rivet Buying Guide

rivet buying guide

Deciding on the best rivets for your job requires a knowledge of the types of rivets and their applications. For example, if you require an option that doesn’t need backing to support jointed materials, you likely need pop rivets. Find out more about these fasteners and the types you may need for specific jobs.

What Are Rivets?

When used as a verb, the term “rivet” means to secure in place or keep something from moving. This definition also applies to what rivets do. These small parts prevent pieces they join from separating.

what are rivets

Rivets are permanent fasteners that join two pieces of material together. Unlike bolts that require nuts to hold them in place, pop rivets do not need anything behind them. Without the need for backing to support them, you can install rivets from one side. The fact that you only need access to one side of a piece increases the number of places where you can use rivets.

What Are Rivets Used for?

Rivets have various sizes and forms. Commonly used types include traditional forged rivets and pop rivets. Forged rivets have applications in heavy ironwork and require hammering from the backside. Pop rivets join thin pieces together with the help of a pop rivet gun.

Rivets can handle shear and tensile loads. They can even tackle watertight applications for the boating and automotive industries.

How Do Rivets Work?

Knowing how rivets work is critical for sturdy results. Each rivet type requires a different installation method. To use forged rivets you:

  • Locate the rivet head that makes the outside bearing surface.
  • Insert the end without a head into a predrilled hole.
  • Press this end into place to create a second bearing surface on the inside.

To use pop rivets, you:

  • Predrill holes through the thin sections of materials you are joining.
  • Load a rivet into your gun.
  • Insert the free end through the hole and actuate the gun. You can either use a manual gun with two handles you squeeze together or an automatic gun with an electric or pneumatic trigger.

When you actuate your pop rivet gun, the central mandrel moves up while the head of your rivet stays against the outside surface. This action compresses and expands the bottom portion of the rivet until it reaches approximately 1 1/2 times its original diameter. The result is a larger bearing surface that holds your two materials together.

What Are the Different Types of Rivets?

different types of rivets

Our catalog features multiple types of rivets, with many pop rivet designs. These rivet styles include everything from extra strong and large models to those that hide well in the surface structure.

1. Pop Rivets

Pop – or blind – rivets are highly popular because they only require installation from one side. Some types of pop rivets require that you predrill holes in the material to accommodate the rivets. However, self-drilling, self-tapping and speed fastening blind rivets do not require you to drill holes first.

Examples of pop rivets you might consider include:

  • Large flange rivets: These rivets have extra strength and are more durable due to their larger heads compared to other designs.
  • Button head rivets: These rivets have a much smaller design. When you need fastening and improved aesthetics on your work, button head rivets may suffice. While not as strong as large flange pop models, these rivets are unobtrusive after installation. If you need extra color or a color match to further obscure the rivets in the piece, consider painted button head rivets. Steel rivets, aluminum fasteners and copper rivets are among the types you will find as button head designs.
  • Stainless rivets: Stainless rivets differentiate themselves from steel rivets in their ability to resist corrosion. Consider this option if you will have the rivet heads exposed to the elements.
  • Countersunk rivets: Countersunk rivets have heads that sit below the surface, for applications when you need a smooth finish.

2. Solid Rivets

Solid rivets are the traditional style of rivet that require you to heat the fastener metal to install. You may see these fasteners in the following materials:

  • Stainless steel
  • Steel
  • Aluminum
  • Brass
  • Nickel-silver
  • Bronze
  • Copper

Solid rivets are some of the strongest rivets available and were even used to build structural-steel buildings before they were replaced with different techniques.

sizes and packaging

3. Split Rivets

This last type of rivet has a more narrow application outside of heavy construction. The split legs of these rivets do not hold metal together. Instead, split rivets work best with wood, leather or similarly soft materials.

Where Are Rivets Used?

Several industries use pop rivets in addition to other types. You’ll find them in:

  • HVAC installations: HVAC technicians often use rivets to permanently join ventilation ducts.
  • Aluminum siding: Rivets are ideal for joining aluminum siding that would not hold up under the pressure of heat.
  • Trailer manufacturing: Rivets often help with keeping exhaust and pipe systems in place on trailers.
  • Jewelry: Jewelers can use rivets to replace soldering or heating as a cold connection technique to join metal pieces together.
  • Home construction: There are many applications for rivets in homes, such as for gutters, doors and windows, fiberglass roofing, and more. Rivets are also ideal for attaching decorations or signs to a wall or ceiling permanently since the installer only needs access to one side.
  • Woodworking projects: Rivets are perfect when you want more durable furniture since they hold longer than a nail or a screw. They are common in shelves and cabinets with many drawer pulls and handles, and you can also use rivets for attaching doorknobs.

Traditional forged rivets are the kind you see on heavy ironwork and may be used on aircraft and other large equipment to permanently join aluminum alloys where it is difficult to solder. Split rivets may be used in furniture making or in other woodworking and craftsman applications.

hoe to choose the correct rivet size

How to Choose the Correct Rivet Size

You need to consider three different dimensions when choosing your rivets. Here’s how you measure a rivet:

  • Diameter of the rivet: Convention usually requires you to write this measurement in increments of 1/32 of an inch — for example, 5/32 inches.
  • Maximum grip length: This is the maximum thickness of your materials in increments of 1/16 of an inch.
  • Mandrel or shaft diameter: This needs to correspond to your pop rivet gun size.

For example, a size 45 rivet has a 4/32-inch body diameter and a 5/16-inch grip length. A size 68 rivet has a 6/32-inch body diameter and an 8/16-inch grip length. The rivet’s length should equal the thickness of the fastened objects. Then, add 1.5 times the length of the diameter of the rivet’s stem to arrive at your measurement.

It is also key to ensure you have the correct length for the rivet. Manufacturers measure from the underside of the rivet’s head to the very tip of the stem and do not include the head itself in the length.

With this information, you can choose the rivets that are best suited to the sizes and types of material you’re riveting. Depending on the softness of the materials you’re joining and the number of rivets you want to install, you can choose a rivet with a larger or smaller diameter head. A large head offers an increased bearing surface and will better resist pull-through and vibration. You can also look at the head height, which is a consideration if you want a smooth surface with a nearly flush rivet head.

Find the Rivets You Need Now at All Points Fasteners

Regardless of the types of rivets you need, you can find them here at All Points Fasteners. If you have questions or cannot find the rivets you’re looking for, contact us online for answers. We have live, English-speaking representatives available if you want to call us with your questions.

We put businesses like yours first in our operation and will do everything possible to get the fasteners you need for the jobs you do. Let us be your source for all the metal rivets your industry needs. Browse through the premium products in our catalog today to get started.

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