Guide to Rivets

Blue Rivets

As an amateur aircraft builder, you will have plenty of encounters with rivets. This is because most kit planes are made from metal. Therefore, you must have an understanding of these metal pieces. 

Types of Rivets

There are many different types of rivets. The most common types are solid, pull, and blind rivets. Most aircraft rivets will be solid. You should also make yourself familiar with percussive riveting if you are going to be building many planes. 

Monel Rivets

Monel rivets are primarily used to hold stainless steel parts together. They are also popular for working with titanium. For the most part, you will only have to use them in the firewall of your aircraft. This is because they fire and corrosion-resistant. However, these rivets will be tough to drive and buck because of their superior strength and tendency to harden as they are worked. 

Aluminum Rivets

The most common rivets used for building planes are made from a hard aluminum alloy. These are clearly marked with a dimple on the head. Pure aluminum rivets will have no dimple on their head. In general, you will be using the ones made from the alloy to hold your aircraft together. 

Installing Rivets

Rivets are driven into place by several tools. Many people enjoy using a pneumatic rivet gun combined with a bucking bar. However, you may also use a rivet bar combined with a hammer, a hand squeezer, or a pneumatic squeezer.

Whatever tools you choose, you should start the process with multiple metal pieces that have clear holes through them. These holes need to be able to fit together tightly. You also want to make sure that it works with the rivet size you chose. Then, choose an appropriate tool and beat or squeeze the rivet into place. 

Riveting is something you will encounter during your time as an amateur aircraft builder. Therefore, you should have a good understanding of the process before starting any projects. This includes knowing the different types of rivets and how to install them.