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Old 03-31-2009, 03:00 AM   #1
Augie R.
 
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Rivet gun

Ok so I have been looking around for the cheapest rivet gun for the solid rivets around the bottom of the exterior. Now time is getting closer and I was looking through my dads tools and he has a air hammer that has a speed adjustment on the bottom....If I get the right tip and a bucking bar localy what would be the diffrence to the really expensive rivet gun ?
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:54 AM   #2
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someone can answer specifically here but I think the swing is different. I do not believe they are the same beast, though I am sure someone will do it and say it worked for them. Not really answering your question am I.... I bought a Brown Tool one on the recommendation of Aerowood. It is a real tool and will be passed down to many generations.
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:17 AM   #3
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People on the Forums have definitely used an air hammer to accomplish this. The experts say it's better to use an actual rivet gun rather than an air hammer, the air hammers just don't have the same precision control. I have both, so I really should do a test to see if I can control the hammer well enough.

I'm normally very cheap and considered using only the air hammer, but decided I wanted the right tool for the job. I was able to find a great deal on a used rivet gun, rivet sets, and bucking bar through Toolsez.com . Take a look at their website, then call them up and deal, their prices are not set in stone, and if they don't have exactly what you need on their website, chances are they actually do and it's just not posted.

Bucking Bars

(The link says "Bucking Bars" but it's actually a link to their complete sets of rivet guns, rivet sets (aka dies), and bucking bars)

So far it has worked wonderfully, it's a solid tool, and it's the right tool.

Good luck!

-Marcus
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:20 AM   #4
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marcus,

Is what they call "dies" (rivet sets) what I see called "clecos" here on the forum?
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:24 AM   #5
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I purchased from Toolsez because of the phenomenal deal of $70 for a 3x rivet gun, 5/32 rivet set, and bucking bar.

That included shipping.
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:48 AM   #6
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Yes, I should add that SoldierMedic is the one who told about Toolsez to begin with, he deserves the credit, saved me a ton of money and the rivet gun is working quite well for me.

(Note, you need to be REALLY careful when entering the word "Toolsez" into your web browser, especially if you are at work. You could end up somewhere.... ummm... unsavory...)

Also, dies aka rivet sets are NOT clecoes. The rivet set is essentially the "bit" that goes into the rivet gun. You could think of it as analgous to a chisel that you put into an air hammer. The shank slides into the gun, and the spring retains it so that it "bounces" when air is applied. There is a specific rivet set for every type of rivet, and for every size of rivet. For universal rivets that have domed heads, the rivet set has a concave dimple in it, to help it stay on the head of the rivet as you are bucking it into place. So far, all of the solid rivets that I use for exterior application (fastening skins to c-channel, applying patches, etc.) have been 5/32 universal head rivets of varying length (the 5/32 describes the shaft diameter). So, for those rivets, I must use a 5/32 universal head rivet set. There are other shaft diameters, like 1/8, 3/16, etc. But so far, I have only used 5/32.

Clecoes, on the other hand, are nothing more than sheet-holders. They are spring loaded, and when the spring is stretched, the end narrows down in order to slide through the holes (that you have already drilled through your metal sheets), and then when you release the spring, the end fattens up (on the far side of your metal sheets), and holds the sheets together.

These are exceptionally valuable when doing sheet metal repair/replacement, as they act like another "set of hands" to hold the work together. Then, when you are satisfied that everything fits as you would like it, you can simply move down the line, removing a cleco and replacing it with a rivet, one at a time.

Here's a picture of my water heater patch being held on by clecoes:



Like rivets, the clecoes come in different shaft diameters. The black ones are 5/32, while the copper ones to the bottom right in the picture are 1/8.

I was really confused when I started all of this, too, so please continue asking questions until you understand.

-Marcus
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:24 AM   #7
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Thanks Marcus, for the cleco explanation ...it's becoming clearer! Now to check out Toolsez.
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:28 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by utee94 View Post
I was really confused when I started all of this, too, so please continue asking questions until you understand.

-Marcus
Thanks, that clears it up nicely! So, there are several different guns on there. Someone else mentioned a Brown Tool gun. Do you or Soldiermedic have any thoughts on the different models?
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Old 03-31-2009, 12:39 PM   #9
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It doesn't really matter who makes the gun as long as the size is a 3X. Shop around and get the best deal. The stroke is different on an air hammer then a rivet gun, although many before you, including me, have used an air hammer in the past, a true rivet gun is easier to control. Nothing more embarrasing then having the gun get away from you and putting a stitch line of smilely faces a foot up a panel. it really ruins your day.

Kip
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:35 PM   #10
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(I should add that above, when I said "The experts say it's better to use an actual rivet gun rather than an air hammer" I was referring collectively to many smart people on this message board, but even more specifically, to Aerowood, who is the Master Of All Things Rivet Related, as well as being a genuinely helpful person! )

Anyway, now I really am curious to see how a rivet hammer behaves and will likely try it out on some scrap metal in the near future.

But at the same time, I can say that I'm delighted to have the RIGHT tool for the job. I've found that this tends to make a huge difference in just about every endeavor.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:35 PM   #11
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An air hammer can be used in lieu of a rivet gun, but it's harder to hold it steady and the trigger control is not as precise. If you slip, you get "smiles" in the sheet metal that will be there forever.

It really depends on the air hammer you have and how steady you can hold it. Has to be 90 degrees to the metal surface, or the edge of the rivet set will leave one of those "smiles." Most rivet sets are .401 shank just like most air hammers. Suggest you get some rivet sets and try your air hammer out on some scrap material. It might work. There are some cheap rivet guns that are no better than a good air hammer.

If you get a rivet gun, try that out on some scrap material also. There's a skill involved here, and practice helps a lot.

Most of my limited experience is with aircraft rivets. If I'm reading the rivet head codes correctly on our Airstream, the trailer has the "A" rivet, which is the softest aircraft rivet. It's much easier to drive than the "AD" rivet most commonly used in light aircraft.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:36 PM   #12
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Guess this might be a stupid question but what does the 3X mean? The link from Marcus goes to a page that all guns were 4X.
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:32 PM   #13
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The site isn't as good as just calling the number and talking to him directly. Ask specifically for the 3x gun, rivet set, and bucking bar. You can't go wrong for the price with toolsez.

Steve
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Old 03-31-2009, 04:57 PM   #14
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Guess this might be a stupid question but what does the 3X mean? The link from Marcus goes to a page that all guns were 4X.
It is the power of the gun basically. You would most likely dimple the skin a little with a longer stroked gun like a 4X. For those of you going to the FCU Restoration Rally, I will be bringing an assortment of rivet gun sizes and an "air hammer" for everyone to try hands on.

Kip
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