Removing Rivets

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Introduction: Removing Rivets

About: I'm an Instructables success story! After relying on the site to DIY my way through art school, I was able to join the Instructables Design Studio in 2012. It's the best! Whe...

I have just begun the restoration process of my tiny fiberglass trailer. When I pulled the interior lights down off of the hull, there were multiple rivets that were holding them in place, that now needed to get removed.

I gave each rivet a good tug with a pair of pliers to make sure which ones actually needed to get removed. (all of them :P)

I figured out which of my drill bits was the same size as the hole in the rivet, and then used that bit to drill out the rivets.

In summary:

1)Assess what size drill bit your rivets will need.
2)Drill out the rivet
3)Patch your hole (I'm patching this fiberglass hull with a 5 minute quick-set epoxy, the holes these rivets left behind are very small)

If you have questions, feel free to comment.

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    13 Comments

    I always used a drill bit one size larger than the hole in the rivet. Works so well I can drill out steel rivets in a few seconds with a hand drill

    2 replies

    good to know, i was a bit afraid of using anything bigger, and this worked great.

    Yeah, it's very easy, you might need fifteen turns to break a heavy steel rivet, five for an aluminum. with a smaller bit, you actually drill the center out and you go through a lot more material. With a larger, you drill through the material that connects the shaft to the head, much easier.

    Hi : If I have to drill out monel metal, or steel pop rivets, I always punch out the mandrel head, as it is harder than most drill bits, and will soon blunt them. I make suitable punches from ground down Ram Set nails. Cheers.

    Dang that is sure much easier than I thought it would be, ty.

    Thanks for posting this! I'd heard of drilling out rivets, but never knew what to do. The script in your pictures is very hard to read because parts of the letters are missing.(at least they are missing on my computer) Could you caption the pictures instead or put it into multiple steps?

    2 replies

    it's the resolution of the miniatures. if you click on them they'll display right.

    Oh, yeah, they do! Thanks.

    You can remove the rivets using a hand grinder, too. But beware, the grinder is far more powerful than the drill, you could easily damage the piece.

    Be sure to use a sharp drill bit. If the rivets are aluminum, its not such a big deal, but it is if they are steel.

    great! would like to see that trailer.

    That is a cool lil trick. I like it, thanks 4 sharing