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Old 01-21-2006, 08:11 PM   #1
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Rivet Removal -What is the Correct Method?

Since almost any repair involves removing a panel,removing rivets the right way seems to be a critical skill.
The interior pop rivets are easy. The spinning drill bit is held in place by the hollow center of the rivet.

How does one efficiently remove factory rivets and olympic rivets without damaging skin or enlarging hole?
Ken
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Old 01-21-2006, 08:47 PM   #2
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rivet removal

Ken-

When I first discovered this forum, I cut and pasted some of the better notes on techniques or sources. With apologies to the original poster, here's one sniglet on rivets:

1. Get a good #21 drill bit.
2. Split the point if it isn't already. This REALLY helps.
3. My rivets had a small dimple in the center. I hope yours do also. Don't need to centerpunch. If you need a center, use a small file to flatten the crown first, and use a awl instead of a punch.
4. It really is easier than I thought. Takes about two hours to go all the way around. Work slow and you won't oversize any of the holes.

63GT
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Old 01-21-2006, 08:52 PM   #3
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Thanks, 63GT!
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Old 01-21-2006, 09:32 PM   #4
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I use a spring loaded center punch - works great
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:03 PM   #5
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Use a dremmel to grind off the head then punch the rivet with a centerpunch.
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Old 01-21-2006, 10:24 PM   #6
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I just used a sharp chisel and a hammer and they popped off in a hurry, after that I just used an ice pick to drive out the shank of the rivet. It is fast and works on all rivets. Try it on a couple of rivets and see what I mean. This grinding and drilling sounds like a lot of unnecessary work, remember the replacement rivet will cover any damage.
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Old 01-22-2006, 08:07 PM   #7
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I would think a dremel would take a long time if you have a bunch to remove - I dont like the chisel because it wreaks the chisel and tends to leave the hole elongated - however this reminds me that you don't want to drill them all the way through - just enough to cut through the head, then as stage mentions use a awl (or an ice pick) to punch them out

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Old 01-22-2006, 11:43 PM   #8
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Yes indeed, a Dremmel to grind off the heads isn't the fastest method!. It does provide the control so that you can get a clean removal which is more difficult with a grinder. But it will do for minor fixups and odd jobs.

If you plan on doing a lot of rivet work then you do indeed need to get the right tools. One of them is a device to automatically center the drill bit to drill out the rivet such as discussed in the thread
http://www.airforums.com/forum...tool-9586.html
the link to www.aircraft-tool.com is no longer valid but the site still has rivet removal tools for $45 or so.

I'd also suggest a pneumatic riveter. Harbor Freight seems to be a good source for these and it appears they have two quality levels. $50 or so. That also means a decent compressor for tools.

Then you should also get a rivet shaver. www.vintagetrailersupply.com seems to be the best source for these. They also have a good price on the 5/32 bulb tight olympic rivets as well.

Then some clecos and the pliers would be useful. You can also find these at aircraft-tool.com These are temporary rivets that help you get things held in place and configured properly before you commit the rivets.

Then don't forget the sealants and all the other good stuff it takes to make sure the job gets done right!
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Old 01-23-2006, 04:15 AM   #9
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I second the removal tool, they have a newer one that "grips" the rivet head better. For seasoned metal mechanics we drill without the tool, but it does help center up and control depth. I use a very thin pin punch to pop the center out after clearing the head.

Aaron
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