Your thoughts on using a hammer and modified bolt to set solid rivets?

Discussion in 'Hangar Flying' started by Nickathome, Jan 18, 2015.

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  1. Jan 18, 2015 #1

    Nickathome

    Nickathome

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    I'm having a hard time justifying the cost of a pneumatic rivet gun to buck the solid rivets for my CX 5. The wing spar for this build is the only place that I'm aware of that uses solid rivets, maybe 200 in total. I'm thinking of using the modified bolt and hammer method that Sonex offers up as an alternative to builders of their planes. I took their builders course and bucked rivets using this method, and it works. Wondering if any others here have done this.
     
  2. Jan 18, 2015 #2

    addaon

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    If the resulting rivets are acceptable by AC 43, it's fine. I wouldn't do it myself -- buy a cheap rivet gun, sell it when done, make life easier.
     
  3. Jan 18, 2015 #3

    Kyle Boatright

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    If the factory approved it, I'm sure it'll work. But it would be easier to find a rivet gun and a local RV builder with experience and take care of the job really quickly...
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015
  4. Jan 18, 2015 #4

    BBerson

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    A good solid couple hits with a hammer could be superior to multiple light hits with a rivet gun that hardens the rivet.
     
  5. Jan 18, 2015 #5

    TFF

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    The rivet is suppose to harden. I would find a gun or squeezer or both. You can also add solids in easy to get to places if you have the tools. I have only been happy with small rivet done with a hammer.
     
  6. Jan 18, 2015 #6

    JamesG

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    Assuming you don't hit like a girl (or like me) and can aim and do not leave smiley faces all around the rivet heads...
     
  7. Jan 18, 2015 #7

    Turd Ferguson

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    What size are the rivets? Dia and length?
     
  8. Jan 18, 2015 #8

    bifft

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    Bolt and hammer would work fine, but I would expect that there is a local rv or other metal builder who would be happy to loan you the tools or even help with the riveting.

    For a something like a wing spar where the reach wouldn't be a problem, I prefer using a C-frame tool and a hammer, easier to control than a gun and bar in each hand. Checking online I do see they cost a bit more than I remembered. Still cheaper than a gun.
     
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  9. Jan 18, 2015 #9

    Wanttaja

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    I know a guy who built a T-18 without a rivet gun, using a hammer and a rivet set. Turned out nicely, still flying after 30+ years.

    With THAT said: Having the proper tool(s) makes life far simpler, and building go much faster. With better progress, you're more likely to not abandon the project. You can cut the metal with a saber saw, for instance, but a bandsaw cuts it faster and with less hassle.

    You can probably buy a used rivet gun and sets, do your 200 rivets, and re-sell the unit for what you paid for it. Plus...well, assembling the wing spar is one area where I'd suggest not scrimping.

    Ron Wanttaja
     
  10. Jan 18, 2015 #10

    BBerson

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    It isn't scrimping. A hammer works better for 3/16" spar rivets.
     
  11. Jan 18, 2015 #11

    BoKu

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    A Harbor Freight hydraulic press does a good job on 3/16" spar rivets; that was the standard in the RV world until prefabricated spars became the norm. The press probably sells for less than what the rivet gun does, though in percentage terms it probably has worse resale value.
     
  12. Jan 18, 2015 #12

    Wanttaja

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    Harbor Freight tools *have* a resale value? :)

    Ron Wanttaja
     
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  13. Jan 18, 2015 #13

    Nickathome

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    Rivets are 3/16ths diameter. Length of them varies and I'd have to double check, but the riveted pieces measure probably 3/4" Again, I'd have to double check.

    No, I'm not borrowing tools, nor going to let an RV builder do the work. Kinda defeats the purpose of "Homebuilt" IMO....I'll consider buying a rivet hammer but only if it's cheap.
     
  14. Jan 18, 2015 #14

    Hot Wings

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    Of course they do! It's about $160 per ton for scrap iron at the moment :gig:.
     
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  15. Jan 18, 2015 #15

    mcrae0104

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    Here is another clever method:

    [video=youtube_share;frLcrJvSSa4]http://youtu.be/frLcrJvSSa4[/video]
     
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  16. Jan 19, 2015 #16

    Nickathome

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    I like that tool.
     
  17. Jan 19, 2015 #17

    Aesquire

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    That is very clever. I like the horizontal action so you don't have a blind side, and note the builder emphasizes you must seat the rivets properly so the heads are flush to get a proper set.

    "No, I'm not borrowing tools, nor going to let an RV builder do the work. Kinda defeats the purpose of "Homebuilt" IMO" .... We're going to have to agree to disagree on this. I think you would enjoy a fellow enthusiast visit and assist you with a tool you have no need to own except for those darn 200 rivets. We could go back and forth on this, and since it's emotional and attitude based instead of science, I'll shut up about it, now.

    I like the C-frame & hammer, much better than a hammer & punch. It's just a question of hand versus jig, and my reluctance to ruin parts. The main spar, by the time you assemble it, has a lot of hours of work in it so I'd be as careful as practical.

    Myself, I'm inexperienced with air powered rivet guns, ( a couple hundred some years back doesn't make me good at it today ) and will defer to others on the subject.

    Hammers are a precision instrument in precision hands. Wish I had some, but I'm human.

    I've pounded thousands of rivets in reproduction Armor, in leather, plastic, and a variety of metals. Practice makes perfect, and I still ding a few.

    It is very hard to remove a bent or improper rivet without marring the surface of the parts. Depending on the part, and it's tolerance for damage, you may need to scrap it, for structural, cracking, or cosmetic reasons.

    So practice, practice practice, and seriously contemplate some sort of Jig or C-frame or other means to make the job go smoother. Have fun.
     
  18. Jan 19, 2015 #18

    Aesquire

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    A "U" shaped chunk of plastic ( so as to to mar the parts ) with a slip fit hole for the punch in the bottom of the "U", drilled as close to right angles to the surface that will rest on the part, ( the ends of the "U" ) should let you see to position the punch square & centered and would reduce the probability of slipping and ruining the rivet or the part. Wear safety goggles whenever using hammer & punch.

    Grade 5 bolt for the punch seems right to me? Opinions?
     
  19. Jan 19, 2015 #19

    BBerson

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    I don't know what you are doing with a punch.
    I use a rivet "set" that fits the manufactured head. The set is clamped in a heavy vise upside down.
    Then the rivet and spar is set on the "set" and hammered directly with a hammer to form the shop head.
     
  20. Jan 19, 2015 #20

    Pops

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    I have a hole drilled in the table of my very heavy 12" shear that I built to accept a rivet set and have a piece of harden round stock about 4" long and use a hammer to rivet when I just need to drive a couple of rivets and didn't want to fool with getting all the tools out for such a small job.
    Dan
     

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