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Types of Rivet Installation Tools

A broad range of tools are used in the process of rivet installation. This includes hand tools such as rivet cutters, bucking bars, hand riveters, countersinks, and dimpling tools, and power tools such as pneumatic rivet guns, rivet squeezers, and microshavers. In this blog, we will discuss each type of tool and its basics functions.

First, let’s look at the hand tools. The rivet cutter is a tool used to trim rivets when rivets of the required length are unavailable. To use a rivet cutter, the rivet is inserted in the correct hole, the shims are placed under the rivet head, and the cutter is squeezed like a pair of pliers. The rotation of the disks cuts the rivet to the desired length. The next part, a bucking bar, is a heavy piece of steel used to provide countervibration to assist in proper rivet installation. They come in a variety of weights, shapes, and sizes depending on their intended use. Bucking bars are most commonly made from low-carbon steel that has been case hardened or alloy bar stock.

Hand riveters are tools used to drive rivets. They are available in configurations tailored to every size and shape of rivet head, though the standard type is made of ½ inch tool steel about six inches in length and is knurled to prevent slipping. A countersink is a tool that cuts a cone-shaped depression around a rivet hole to allow the rivet to set flush with the surface they are attached to. They can be made with angles that correspond to many angles of countersunk rivet heads, though the standard countersink has an angle of 100 degrees. The final hand tool is the dimpling die. These are used to carry out dimpling, the process of making an indentation around a rivet hole to make the top of a countersunk rivet flush with the surface.

Now let’s look at the power tools used for rivet installation, the first of which is the pneumatic rivet gun. The pneumatic rivet gun is the most commonly used rivet upsetting tool in aircraft repair work. They come in many sizes and types, operate on air pressure of 90 to 100 pounds per square inch, and are used in conjunction with interchangeable rivet sets tailored to the type of rivet and location of work. The most common type of rivet guns are called slow-hitting rivet guns. These strike 900-2,500 strikes per minute. They are ideal because they are heavy enough to do many jobs while still being slow enough to control.

Another power tool, the rivet squeezer, comes in three types: hand, pneumatic, and pneudraulic. Despite being different, all three types operate on the same basic principle. The hand rivet squeezer uses hand pressure to supply compression, the pneumatic rivet squeezer uses air pressure, and the pneudraulic uses a combination of air and hydraulic pressure. These are equipped with a C-yoke or alligator yoke to accommodate any size of rivet. The working capacity of a rivet squeezer is determined by its gap and reach.

Finally, a microshaver is used if the smoothness of the substrate requires all countersunk rivets to be driven within a specific tolerance. A microshaver features a cutter, a stop, and two legs for stability. The cutting portion of the microshaver lies within the stop, and the depth of the cut can be altered by pulling outward on the stop and turning it in either direction (turning the stop clockwise will provide deeper cuts). The microshaver stop can be altered for very fine adjustments of 0.001 inch and, when adjusted and used properly, it can cut the head of a countersunk rivet within 0.002 inches without damaging the surrounding material.

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