Unusual Uses for Pop Rivets

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Introduction: Unusual Uses for Pop Rivets

About: Fixer, Finder, Fabricator. I teach engineering to high school students, at St Marys Secondary College in Nathalia VIC Australia

Pop rivets are handy little items to have around, but you can do more with them than join two pieces of sheet metal together, They are also great for making cable ends and also make great pivot bushes or axle bushes.

Step 1: Grab Your Rivets

This is pretty easy just grab some pop rivets of various sizes and knock the core out with a hammer and a vice. They come out easily and you will have a handy little tube and to use on your next project.

Step 2: Cable Ends and Loops

Bike cables can be a pain if you have to cut the end off but with a small pop rivet tube, you can put an end on it so it says in one piece and doesn't stab you in the finger. Just cut off the swage on the end and insert it into your pop rivet tube and give it a tap with a hammer on the back of the vice.

If you can't hit it with a hammer electrical terminal crimpers work almost as well

Also great for motorbike carburettors if you have to make a new cable, the little end fits perfectly in the carburettor slide.

If you need to make a loop just use a bigger rivet. Great if you want to make fishing lures or snares, also great for emergency repairs or throttle cables on cars and go-karts.

You might wonder how strong is that loop? Very strong!

Step 3: Pivots Bushes and Axles

Pop rivets can also be quite useful if you need a nice pivot. the core can be used for an axle but needs to have the crimped part filed down so it will spin nicely when put onto the tube back to front.

In the example wood has a couple of holes predrilled and the tube and core are tapped in with a hammer. you could also use a nail the correct size if you wanted to.

Step 4: Wheels and Axles

If you make toys or need a small wheel or pulley the rivet can also be useful as the centre and axle for your project, Just file or sand the crip of the core of the pop rivet and you have the perfect little axle and centre for your next wheeled project.

I've also used rivets to repair the small pulled inside some car door window regulators, as sometimes the plastic pulleys fall to pieces if they are not too far gone you can replace the centre with a rivet.

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    24 Comments

    0
    Yonatan24
    Yonatan24

    7 weeks ago

    I like the cable ends idea. I'll try it next time. Thanks!

    0
    mikethevol
    mikethevol

    8 weeks ago

    Great article!
    Does anyone make copper pop rivets? I have often wondered about using them to breadboard circuits.

    0
    tytower
    tytower

    2 months ago

    Good stuff
    On your wire loops I would like to see the tail extended enough to get a second smaller crimped ferrule on there.
    I've overlooked the possibility of using them to crimp on the ends of electrical cables too.

    0
    shloime
    shloime

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    for my purposes, it’s easier to trim the loose end flush (or as close as possible) to the ferrule, using a dremel and a cutoff wheel. (and always use eye protection!)

    0
    ElectroFrank
    ElectroFrank

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Not suitable for electrical use. Aluminium has a surface coating of insulating oxide. That is why it is almost never used in electrical applications.

    Also, for vehicle or outdoor uses, coat the cable in grease before putting the crimp on, to prevent electrochemical corrosion due to water ingress.

    0
    privatier
    privatier

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    The usual way to hold the strands of electrical wires together is with so called ferrules, which, like the wires themselves, come in different sizes.They are thin enough to fit into the small holes in the plugs and allow for the screw to press the strands together for a strong mechanical connection. I am not sure whether the rivet sleeves are a good substitute.

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 2 months ago

    Thanks, Tytower, I'm sure I've forgotten another use for pop rivets, Im sure Ive used them for something else.

    0
    shloime
    shloime

    8 weeks ago

    neat stuff! it never occurred to me that i didn’t need to buy those aluminum ferrules at the hardware store. 😉

    one trick i picked up the last time i made a cable was that it's neater to cut aircraft cable with a dremel cutoff wheel than with wire cutters or anything else i’ve tried. and it doesn’t leave at those loose wire bits sticking out. it just requires a (very) light touch.

    0
    throbscottle
    throbscottle

    8 weeks ago

    Thanks for some great tips!
    When I can figure out how to vote, I will!

    0
    f1dd13r
    f1dd13r

    8 weeks ago

    Great ideas. I especially like the bicycle cable ends and will likely use that one and the loop ends idea

    0
    farmboy79
    farmboy79

    8 weeks ago

    Thankyou for sharing this! Another great example of creatively looking at things as raw materials suitable for different uses than originally intended.

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    Thanks, for your kind words

    0
    qorlis
    qorlis

    8 weeks ago

    On your wire loops, if you don't use a hammer or crimping pliers, you could also use the vise itself.

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    thanks for the tip!

    0
    chefspenser
    chefspenser

    8 weeks ago

    Thank you for sharing these ideas - creative thinking!

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    thanks for the feedback

    0
    snorlaxprime
    snorlaxprime

    8 weeks ago

    That is a great use for a pop rivets, thanks for sharing. This will definitely benefit lots of people.

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    thanks for the feedback

    0
    chimewizard
    chimewizard

    8 weeks ago

    Great ideas, thank you! Nylon push fasteners and pop rivets are also mighty useful for small bushings and bearings, and as grommets protecting nylon cords passing through a rough-edged hole (I make wind chimes!)

    0
    liquidhandwash
    liquidhandwash

    Reply 8 weeks ago

    thanks, Ill remeber that tip