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Old 02-12-2008, 03:23 PM   #1
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Rivet Grip Strength

Greetings,

This is my second post. I am in the process of reading the many back-posts. I hope you will excuse me if this has been asked before.

I little background: I just purchased a 75 Ambassador and find myself in the process of my first renovation/restoration. So far I have removed the sub-floor in the rear bedroom and the banana skins around the back and back sides. I have identified frame, cross-member, and outrigger rot. No sure yet how to assess the damage.

Now I am also purchasing the tools I will use along the way. I just purchased a Marson HP-2 Klik-fast hand rivet tool and a supply of #30, #21, and #11 drill bits from a commercial-grade supplier nearby --using information I gleaned from the forum. I also asked for a couple of boxes of 1/8 and 5/32 inch aluminum rivets to use in replacing the banana skins and the belly skins when I reach the replacement point.

However the salesman requested "grip strength" for the rivets. I have only partially reviewed the previous posts here but don't remember seeing any data on grip strength. I would very much appreciate your advise on this -for all three sizes of rivets commonly used on A/S.

I also wanted to purchase a box of "olympic" rivets but I haven't noticed "olympic" rivets advertised on the aircraft-part on-line suppliers nor at the supplier where I am purchasing my supplies. Is an "olympic" rivet a particular brand which must be purchased a particular place? If not is there a generic name I shoiuld use at the parts house to identify these rivets?

Many thanks,

Todd
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:12 PM   #2
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Try this place for the Olympic rivets as well as the head shaver.

Olympic
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Old 02-12-2008, 04:36 PM   #3
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Rivet grip "range"

Rivets are measured by grip "range" not strength.

The first number of a pop rivet size, is it's diameter in 32 nds.

The second number, is it's grip ronge in 16ths.

A #48 pop rivet would be 1/8 diameter and have a grip range of 1/2 inch.

The length of the actual rivet is about 1/8 longer, than it's grip range.

Example. A #48, would be about 5/8 in length.

The grip range is always somewhat shorter than it's actual length.

Same is true for buck rivets.

There is only one size Olympic rivet available for Airstream repairs. That is the only size you will need.

Andy
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:07 PM   #4
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Andy,

What what grip range do I ask for when purchasing 1/8 and 3/16 rivets? The guy behind the counter tells that the grip range is determined by the material being fastened?

Todd
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:36 PM   #5
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The grip range is determined by the combined thicknesses of the materials being riveted together. For example two pieces of skin that are .032 thick is .064 or just a tad over 1/16" plus a frame section is around .063 or 1/16" so 1/16" plus 1/16" equal 1/8 inch, or a grip length of a 2. So an 1/8 diameter rivet with a grip of 2 would be a 42 or 4-2
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Old 02-12-2008, 05:40 PM   #6
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Todd-

Did you get a Service Manual with your Airstream? If not, you should really consider getting one. It's a fantastic resource!
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Old 02-12-2008, 06:01 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Andy,

What what grip range do I ask for when purchasing 1/8 and 3/16 rivets? The guy behind the counter tells that the grip range is determined by the material being fastened?

Todd
What grip range you use, is almost secondary, just so that it is equal to, or better.

In the case of pop rivets, space permitting, to put 2, .032 (.064) total thickness sheets together, you can use 1/8, 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8 or 1/2 inch grip range. They will all do the same job.

In the case of buck rivets, the situation changes to some degree, but the basic idea is the same.

If, as an example, you want to put the same two sheets together, that total .064 inches, using 1/8 inch diameter buck rivets, you can use 3/16, 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, 5/8, 3/4, 13/16, 7/8, 1", 1 1/4, 1 3/8" grip range.

If what you have is way too long, simply cut them with diagonals.

Obviously, to some degree, the longer the rivet, the more expensive, but not necessarily so, as it also depends on it's popularity.

The best way, is determine the greatest thickness you will be dealing with, and get rivets for that thickness. As you need shorter rivets, simply cut the shank down to the length you wish. Or, get a couple of different sizes.

We use three sizes of 1/8 buck rivets, if you wish, small, medium and large.

Small = 4-6, medium 4-10 and large 4-16.

The # 4, is the diameter in 32'nds, just like the pop rivets.

Of course we also use, for a variety of reason, # 5 and # 6 diameters, in various lengths, as well.

Then, if you wish to toss more rivets into the pot, do you want to use soft rivets that have a tensile strength of 16,000 psi, or perhaps heat treated rivets that have a tensile strength of 38,000 psi?

But we suggest that you follow the old mechanics rule of, KISS.

Your not rebuilding a super sonic aircraft or a jet liner, but just a nice Airstream.

Andy
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:01 AM   #8
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Okay, thank-you all. This gives me what I need to reapproach the salesman at the rivet shop and has also been a great education in rivets in general.

I'm still wondering about "olympic" rivets. Would a typical commercial grade fastener shop have "olympic" rivets or are "olympics" a special type only carried by speciality suppliers such as Andy's shop?

DPEAKMD: I do have a service manuel. Got them in the mail just this week. Expensive but, as you said, vital technical info.
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:34 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monocoque
Okay, thank-you all. This gives me what I need to reapproach the salesman at the rivet shop and has also been a great education in rivets in general.

I'm still wondering about "olympic" rivets. Would a typical commercial grade fastener shop have "olympic" rivets or are "olympics" a special type only carried by speciality suppliers such as Andy's shop?

DPEAKMD: I do have a service manuel. Got them in the mail just this week. Expensive but, as you said, vital technical info.
Olympic rivets were designed many years ago, to replace the "explosive" rivets that were used to repair Airstreams.

Explosive rivets, have been gone from the market, over 35 years ago.

When I was with the Insurance Division of Airstream, I contacted Dupont who made the explosive rivets, and inquired why they stopped making them.

They basically said because they were a hazard.

I asked if they would manufacter 10 million of them for Airstream and Caravanner Insurance, and they siad "No."

Then a Olympic rivet popped up on the scene. The first ones were terrible, and did not resemble the one that is available today.

A few parts stocking Airstream dealers, have olympic rivets.

Some have good prices, some don't.

Some charge 65 cents each for them, some don't.

I don't know what other industry may use olympic rivets.

Airstream has used them for about 35 years.

Andy
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:53 PM   #10
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A simple Google search for "Olympic rivets" turned up over 20 distributors. Do a little searching and you should be able to find one close to you or buy online. Prices vary signifigantly, dependent on the market they are serving and the quanity purchased. For Olympics, you will need to finish them off by hand with a Dremel tool or buy an expensive shaver, as they break off irregularly when they are used. You really need a good pop rivet gun and a lot of force to get them to pop.
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Old 04-12-2008, 10:58 PM   #11
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olympic rivets

I didn't think I would return to this thread but I stumbled upon an answer to my earlier question while browsing the 2006 winter issue of Airstream Life. In that issue there is a helpful article on the basics of rivets entitled Demystifying Rivets by Renee Ettling. According to Renee: "Olympic rivet refers to the 5/32" shavehead, bulb-tite rivets manufactured by Olympic." The pertinent part that answered my question is "manufactured by Olympic." Evidently there is or was a company named Olympic hence the name referred to for this particular type of rivet.
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