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Old 03-30-2012, 01:05 PM   #1
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Drilling out buck rivets

Greetings Streamers:

I need to drill out the buck rivets around my entrance door to remove inner skin on my '64.

What is the best process to do this? I am guessing center punching the "front" of the rivet which is actually inside on this application and then drilling it out like a regular pop rivet.

If so- what size drill bit should I use?

Thanks for any further direction- Ben
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Old 03-30-2012, 01:33 PM   #2
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I have done the center punch and drill removal with an 1/8 in drill, or perhaps 5/32.

if you can get between the inner skin and the door frame they can be cut with a sharp putty knife and a hammer and then punched out
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:46 PM   #3
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For drilling out any rivet, especially bucked rivets, I use a "Rivet Removal Tool" I bought from The Yard for $39. See the link below:

Rivet Removal Tool

This tool is awesome for gettting your drill bit centered on the head of the rivet and keeping it there. You also don't have to work so hard to get the drilled rivet heads off of the bit again.
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Old 03-30-2012, 02:51 PM   #4
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A lot of info in this thread, and a few of our professional restores chimed in with their own equipment and methods.

http://www.airforums.com/forums/f381...ets-85451.html
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Old 03-30-2012, 04:16 PM   #5
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Back when I did a little work on aircraft, we found the easiest way was to cut an X across the heads with a cutting wheel in a Dremel tool and then pop the bits off with long nose pliers. No more skidding drill bits which damage aluminum panels that way.
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Old 03-30-2012, 06:15 PM   #6
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Ben, in this scenario your safe to take a sharp #30 drill and place the tip on the rivet head, twist the chuck 1/2 a turn to set the point on the rivet head then slowly drill into the rivet head down to the skin, then either snap the head off with a #30 punch or just the drill, your choice. Next step (if possible ask your assistant to hold a bucking bar or something dense behind and next to the rivet tail) whilst using the #30 or 1/8" punch and a 8 oz (or smallish ball peen) hammer tap the shaft and tail out of the hole. If you have a problem drill a bit more, you can always use oversize rivets, same size head-greater shaft diameter (#27 bit).

There's a ton of ways to remove the rivet but this will leave the most unmolested hole possible. (NB your can use a centre punch to create a tiny point right at the beginning but there's is an argument that you slightly harden the head making your task a little more tricky as well as slower). Anyhow food for thought and good luck
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Old 04-03-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crusty View Post
Back when I did a little work on aircraft, we found the easiest way was to cut an X across the heads with a cutting wheel in a Dremel tool and then pop the bits off with long nose pliers. No more skidding drill bits which damage aluminum panels that way.
This worked perfectly except that I tapped the cut rivet heads off with a screwdriver and hammer. Thanks for the tip!!

Ben
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:40 AM   #8
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Glad it worked for you. In the shop I was in we found it to be the quickest and easiest way of removing aluminum panels that we wanted to later reuse. I probably should have said to remove the bits with whatever tools you preferred because there was a variety of methods even in the shop for this part of the process.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:45 AM   #9
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I would be so nervous messing up the skin of the Airstream...
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:58 AM   #10
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I had to remove the refrigerator vent cover this week to snake an antenna wire down. This required the removal of 10 bucked rivets, so I tried several of the methods listed in this thread. These are my conclusions but since I only had a small number of rivets to remove, I only could try each method on a few rivets.

Center Punch and Drill - Worked OK, but the drill did not always stay centered in the punched dimple. Maybe I needed a bigger punch or to smack it harder.

Dremel Cross Cut - Not easy when working in a tight spot. Getting down from the ladder to replace a broken cutting disc was a pain. I did not feel comfortable with this method. The issues I had may have been due to the area I was working.

Hand Start and Drill - In my situation, I felt this was the easiest and fastest method for rivet removal. Starting the drill by hand and then drilling worked every time with no problem.

Your mileage may vary...
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