Mechanical Connection: Pop Rivets Werkplaatsidc




Introduction: Mechanical Connection: Pop Rivets Werkplaatsidc

What are pop rivets?

Pop rivets are a very strong permanent way of attaching two or more thin sheets of material to each other. Also other materials like strong plastics can be riveted together. And even in some applications wood works as well.

Where are they used?

They are used in applications where the material is to thin to tap a thread. Or where glue connections are just too weak. Can also be used in connecting sheet metal to a thin walled pipe or square tubing. Or in creating rotating connections that do not undo themselves.

Step 1: Measuring the Thickness

Before choosing your rivets you must be aware of the total thickness of the material you are going to connect.

In this case the total thickness is around 3,44mm.

We need to keep this thickness in mind when we are choosing our rivets.

Step 2: Wat Do You Need?

- Rivet gun :To set a pop rivet logicly you are going to need a rivet gun. Ask about it in the shop

- Rivets: Rivets come in a lot of different sizes and lengths. The shop at school has only a small variety of different types. If you don't find what you like you can go to other shops and find a lot more sizes.

Step 3: Choosing Your Rivets

When choosing your rivets one measurements is very important to keep in mind. The earlier measured total thickness of the material you want to connect.

In this case the total thickness was around 3,44mm.

So we need to choose or rivet accordingly. Because not every rivet can be used for every thickness. They always have a minimum and maximum range. You can find this information on the box.

I picked out a "4x8" rivet. On the box it says it can handle a thickness between 3 to 5 mm. Where our 3.44mm comfortably fits inthis range.

Step 4: Choosing a Drill

In this case we choose a "4x8" rivet. In this case the "4" refers to the diameter of the rivet and the "8" refers to the length of the rivet.

Now we know the rivet has a diameter of 4mm. It time to find the right size of drill. On the back of the box you can find al the relative drill sizes for pre drilling your type of rivet.

In this case we will need a 4.1mm drill for our 4x8 rivet.

if you can't find this size drill just choose the closest diameter you can find. Preferably smaler to insure a tight fit. Make sure your rivet can still go through the drilled hole!

Step 5: Preparing the Work Piece

Using a ruler and pencil to mark the center location of the hole.

Step 6: ​Center Punching the Holes.

I do this using hammer and center punch. This step is needed to insure a precise positioning of the holes.

Step 7: Drilling the Holes

When drilling holes in sheet metal you should never hold a sheet-metal workpiece in your hands when drilling, and always clamp it down when you can.

Preferably use a hand drill when drilling in sheet metal. This gives you better control when the drill bit catches and grabs the workpiece

Step 8: Removing the Burr

Sheet metal tend to leave a burr when drilled. This has to be removed to insure there is no gap between the different plates.

You can do this by drilling it out using a bigger drill or a special countersink bit.

Step 9: Preparing the Rivet Gun #1

First you need to find find the right tool head for for your rivet. Every rivet has a different shaft diameter. To find the one that fits it is just a matter of trail and error.

Step 10: Preparing the Rivet Gun #2

If there is a included spanner you can use this to replace the head.

Step 11: Inserting the Rivet

Insert the rivet into the tool. so it sits flat on the the head of the tool

Step 12: Pop the Rivet 1#

  1. Insert the rivet through the holes you drilled in your plates. Make sure it sits flat on on the surface of your material. Also pay attention there is also no gap between your different materials. This all to ensure a strong connection.
  2. Now squeeze the rivet gun closed until you hear a pop.

Step 13: Pop the Rivet 2#

The stem of the rivet has now been broken off. The pieces of plate are now strongly connected with a rivet.

Step 14: Ejecting the Stem

To eject the stem, hold the rivet gun upside down. And move with force the two legs of the rivet gun to the open position. Repeat until the stem drops out.

Step 15: Result and Possibilities


Connecting a thick and thin plate together, multiple thin plates together, connecting a plate on a pipe all depending on your application

Even connecting a piece of plastic on top of a metal plate is possible. Just make sure the plastic sits on top. Where the head is the widest. So that the rivet does not dig itself into the plastic.



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    17 Discussions

    Really well written instructable. Glad to know I've been doing right all this time!

    the last sentence in step four makes It sounds like the size doesn't really matter that much, you should mention that if it is too small you won't get your rivet through in the first place.


    1 reply

    Oh thanks, you're right it seems that way. I'm going to fix it immediately.

    Are there ways to take care of the terrible-looking back side (ball and pressed-out metal)? Are there double-sided rivets or can you combine two somehow?

    1 reply

    I do not know of an easy way to make them look good. On a few occasions I have managed to drift out the remains of the stem and then use a rivet set to shape the remaining material. If the look is important on both sides I would use ordinary rivets and the appropriate skills ( rivet sets, ball pein hammer etc) Hope this helps.

    i bought one of these guns in the 1960"s and have used it without knowing how to. It seemed sorta limited because the rivets that came with it were very long, so all my results were not impressive. Thanks to you I may use the thing for what it was attended, I wonder where I put it......

    Always wanted to learn this. Now I can make an airplane.

    1 reply

    LOL! remember to countersink the rivet heads like Howard Hughes in The Aviator :)

    Very well written and easily understood. I've used pop rivets for several years but still learned from this. Thank you

    Never use your hand to hold anything you are drilling it is a quick way to loose fingers and if you do you won't be the first or last to loose some fingers always make sure it is firmly clamped or held in a vise

    If you are doing multiple rivets as in the example shown, it is often better to drill and rivet one hole at a time. Maybe drill both holes in the thick piece. Then one hole in the thin piece and rivet then together. Then use the thick piece as a guide to drill through the thin piece and do the second rivet. This avoids having two sets of holes that don't quite align and then need to be drilled oversize to get the rivet through. Or you can just center punch one piece and drill through both pieces together, but beware of the burr between pieces.

    Any tips how to remove pop rivets? I had pop rivets in plastic parts of my motorbike. One or two I could hammer through, others had to be drilled out..

    2 replies

    if you are careful or if the appearance afterwards doesn't matter then an angle grinder/ or smaller rotary tool(Dremel) with a cut-off wheel is also an option.

    The only problem with any of approaches is when the rivet starts to turn in the hole (usually occurs with trying to drill out a rivet)!

    If the rivet starts to spin when drilling it out, tilt the drill maybe 15 or 30 degrees as it is spinning. Since the drill and rivet are now spinning on different axes the drill will still cut metal and slowly chew the rivet head off.

    FYI out there folks, I picked up the same model rivet tool at a thrift store for about $2 U.S.D., so they're fairly inexpensive to acquire.

    Excellent tips, thank you for sharing :)