Flush Pulled Rivets and Polished Aluminum

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Alan_VA

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Apr 17, 2011
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Bristow, VA
I am in the planning stages of building a Thatcher CX5, to be finished "in the bright" as it were. The design calls for pulled rivets and I really like the look of dimpled rivets, which would also be more compatible with the act of polishing the sheet aluminum than would a simpler set of "proud" rivet heads. My question is this: The act of polishing the aluminum will end up filling the mandrel holes with black polishing detritus. I don't want a polka dot airplane. So, is there a material that can be used to fill the mandrel holes and which can also more or less blend in with the polished aluminum sheeting?

Alan
 

GeeZee

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Hi Alan, are you sure about your assumption? “The act of polishing the aluminum will end up filling the mandrel holes with black polishing detritus.”. My hangar neighbor has a polished Zenith 650 and doesn’t have this problem. I’ve seen quite a few polished Sonexes and haven’t noticed any “detritus”. Maybe it blows out?
As far as filling the holes I’ve know a few people that have filled them with a smear of JB weld but that was prior to painting.
 

robertl

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May 5, 2017
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Heath Springs, S.C. USA
If you're going to use flush rivets, and I'm thinking the kind that will need a hammering rivet gun and a bucking bar, there won't be a hole, the rivets will be solid. If you're using something else that will have a hole in the center, just use a spray nozzle on the water hose, that should flush out any polishing compound.
Bob
 

ScaleBirdsScott

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Feb 10, 2015
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Uncasville, CT
Well he specifically referred to flush pulled rivets, so the ones with holes in.

I'd be curious to know the answers to this myself. Thinking to do flush pull rivets on our leading edge possibly, and this plane will be in the bright for at least a little while.
 

Alan_VA

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Apr 17, 2011
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I apologize if I’ve presumed a problem that doesn’t actually developed in real life. I’m waiting for our house to be built so this winter is the “trying to think thru a bucket of possible problems before I begin construction” phase of the project. I was remembering that whenever I’ve failed to wear gloves when polishing aluminum car wheels, it’s taken a ton of Go-Jo to clean my hands. Maybe in the case of polishing airplane wings/fuselage, the buffer head collects the crud.

Alan
 

Yellowhammer

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Feb 21, 2020
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119
I am in the planning stages of building a Thatcher CX5, to be finished "in the bright" as it were. The design calls for pulled rivets and I really like the look of dimpled rivets, which would also be more compatible with the act of polishing the sheet aluminum than would a simpler set of "proud" rivet heads. My question is this: The act of polishing the aluminum will end up filling the mandrel holes with black polishing detritus. I don't want a polka dot airplane. So, is there a material that can be used to fill the mandrel holes and which can also more or less blend in with the polished aluminum sheeting?

Alan
 

Victor Bravo

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Jul 30, 2014
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KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
A friend of mine found little inserts that you tap into pop rivets after they are pulled, that leaves a solid cosmetic "button" over the rivet. These are not flush by any means, but perhaps they will solve the appearance issue.

Solder scares the heck out of me, because I can tell you the rivets a re hard enough to remove (for repairs or modification) as-is.
 

Tiger Tim

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Apr 26, 2013
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Thunder Bay
It might be simpler to use solid rivets than to go back and fill all the holes of pulled rivers with some matching material. You’re already talking about dimpling the skin, just drive solid flush rivets while you’re at it. It’s not a substantial amount of extra work and you only need to drive them once.
 

Daleandee

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Sep 11, 2015
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SC
At least one builder in the Sonex world (not me) filled them with super glue. I agree with GeeZee that this won't be a concern and to just leave them alone. When I had a polished airplane (everyone should own a polished airplane once) I used the Nuvite polish. General cleanup can be done with distilled water and a microfiber cloth.

Dale
 
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