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Old 06-02-2016, 12:48 PM   #15
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Pop Rivets...Horse Buggy and Wagon Wheel technology?

There was a day when the entire civilized world believed the world was FLAT. Nobody wanted to 'test it out' and discover it was not.

Log cabins in the 16th and 17th Centuries of the early USA were burned to the ground to recover any 'iron nails' that were used to hold them together, over the wooden pegs that were popular on Airstreams at the time. These are examples of good logic, gone wrong. The State began paying the settlers on the move to not burn their cabins down for the iron nails... solved the housing problem.

There was a time on the Airforum that Marathon and other Trailer Only tires were good. Other tires would shake a trailer apart, a rivet at a time. Now they are optional or standard on some trailers.

Hitches... almost as many opinions as choices of toilet paper for a Black Tank.

Now... Lath Screws and the Pop Rivet horse buggy promoters.

My trailer will be the Lath Screw experiment Airstream. I have met more people who knew everything and accomplished nothing outside what they knew. I know nothing and admit to it.

I have 254 reasons to continue my experiment, even with being reminded that my interior will tear itself apart like an aluminum beer can.

I also have worked for someone for many decades that did things outside the common knowledge circulating at the time... myself. I learned one thing very important. If I still wanted to be working my entire life to do what everyone else believed... do what everyone else finds within their comfort zone.

Common sense tells me that Airstream uses pop rivets for the exact reasons posted on this Thread. When did Airstream test other options...? Never?

- Each Airstream will have stress points differing according to how the panels were installed. No two are exactly identical in fitting panels or cabinets. Although it appears these 'stress points' are chronic at some locations.

I will watch how Lath Screws handle the new stresses. I will report anything that occurs in the process. It could be that Pop Rivets are a vestige of the technology of the horse buggy and wagon wheel.

Proving me wrong is easy. Proving myself correct is more of a challenge. It would not be the first nor last time.

Has anyone else tried a substitute to pop riveting the interior aluminum panels. Also, what was learned and was it the kind of substitute or the frame of the aluminum shell that is the problem?

But then again... Airstream may find that Lath Screws were not that much more expensive from this test and use them on upgraded interiors. The additional cost of $5 per trailer was not the bitter pill the accountants said would ruin the company. First Michelins. Second... Lath Screws.

I will offer 250 extra Lath Screws as a starter set, keeping 4 in the event other pop rivets fail.
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Old 06-02-2016, 01:13 PM   #16
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I tried using those lath screws once. They caught up the insulation inside the wall and wound it up in tight little knots everywhere. So now I have all these knots of fiberglass insulation where it shouldn't be and no insulation in the areas between the screws where it should be but isn't. I guess if I had upgraded to some of that new fangled Prodex or Relflectix insultation it wouldn't be a prob but them I guess I should have done that when the walls were out and then we wouldn't be having this discussion. At least not my part of it.
So the lesson here is beware of unintented consequences.
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Old 06-02-2016, 01:37 PM   #17
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Mark... those must been rather heavy duty screws.

I opted to use the shorter 1/2" over longer options, as they are shorter and one I found in a drawer at home worked fine as a test. When I removed the first found Lath Screw to measure the length, no insulation was to be found when removed.

The rivet holes are smaller in diameter than the Lath Screws I am working with. I do not expect much movement due to this and the screw will not be backing out with normal use.

The 1/2" is from the TOP of the head to tip. Leaving less than 1/2" for the threading and then the unthreaded tip. The tip will nest into the interior rivet hole and the threaded portion does seem to have plenty of friction to keep it seated.

These are the thin lath screws, which I am using. A thick lath screw, that has a cutting tip to thread, is the other option. Gauges vary from 12 to 26. The thin uses 22 to 26 gauge. My carton says #8 and no gauge mentioned. No doubt, lost in translation.

I would expect those restoring the interior of an Airstream would use pop rivets. If anyone uses something other than pop rivets, it would be interesting to hear from either option.

Since these are Made in China, they may be aluminum and match all of the components used in our Airstreams. I will find a magnet to eventually test these to discover they match the interior so well being... aluminum. This no doubt will encourage those who prefer 'aluminum' only construction.

Added: The indent that the pop rivets leave when tight, appear no different from my Lath Screws indent. I do not force the screw beyond being tight. I cannot get my finger nail between the head and aluminum skin. This is a well thought out option looking for solutions. Took asking a Lowe's Representative to say... 'Lath Screw' and the preliminary research was completed.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:10 PM   #18
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Be careful Chinese aluminum is magnetic so the magnet won't tell you much.
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Old 06-02-2016, 02:15 PM   #19
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Not taking any sides; screw va pop rivet.

However, for those in the screw camp, you may want to look into using a JIS screwdriver or bit. It fits a Phillips head screw better and reduces the incidence of the tool "cramming out" and messing up the screw head.

Just Google JIS screwdriver. Downside is that they are somewhat difficult to find.


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Old 06-02-2016, 04:05 PM   #20
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High quality rivets are available at Fastenall. My bet is that once replaced, it's not likely to pop off again. There is a difference in rivets!
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Old 06-02-2016, 04:14 PM   #21
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I put my skins back on with #8 stainless steel sheet metal screws and all is fine. The good thing is I can get back in there without having to drill out a million pop rivets. I hate drilling those things out.

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Old 06-02-2016, 04:14 PM   #22
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Just don't tell Airstream about this fantastic discovery. They'll quit using rivets on our Airstreams and we'll all be screwed.
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Old 06-02-2016, 06:14 PM   #23
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dkottum, that was a good one!
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Old 06-02-2016, 09:37 PM   #24
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Ray, I was on the second tier. Butch was down on the main floor. Lot of fun throwing stuff at him from the catwalk. We all called him Bobbie since it got his goat to goin. Never met Harry. I went straight after I got out. Real tired of making brooms. Those were the days.
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Old 06-19-2016, 11:51 AM   #25
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Rivet #7 popped in bathroom...

Last week... popped rivet #7. In bathroom. Found the loose rivet, about 3/8" of it on the floor.

Will put the 'lath screw to it' as I look for other popped rivets.

The installed 'lath screws' are holding. No new issues to report as to their use as a rivet substitute. Lath screws look nicer and can be purchased by the carton for easy application.

I did need to temporarily use a lath screw at the bottom of the oven, that requires two 'wood' screws. The road vibration caused both 'original screws' to fall out. The original was too loose, and the lath screw too small in diameter. Will upsize the wood screw to test fit.

The formica covered sawdust cabinets lack any long term use of a wood screw holding an oven onto the frame that it is inserted.

I would comment on Interstate wood screws for the interior, but it may be wise not to. I suspect that Airstream are reducing the size of wood screws according to the amount of real wood in the cabinets.

I noticed the frame for the microwave oven thin metal support frame splitting in the lower right corner. Maybe time to remove it to store paper plates, paper towels and toilet paper.
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Old 06-19-2016, 02:28 PM   #26
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I think that changing one of these trailers from anything but "as delivered" stock is an Airstream travesty, and an insult to each and every engineer worldwide.

It wouldn't surprise me at all if changing out these rivets to screws will invite destructive harmonic vibrations that will annihilate your trailer into nothing but a pile of smoldering rubble.

Ray, if you insist on doing destructive things to your trailer you should keep it to yourself so that others might not get the idea that they can just eliminate pop rivets at will and destroy their trailers entirely.

Your abandonment of accepted and standard process is a display of overt and dangerous non conformance that is entirely unacceptable and DANGEROUS. I humbly submit that you CEASE AND DESIST.


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Old 06-19-2016, 02:33 PM   #27
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Magnetic Lath Screws: positive results

My lath screws are magnetic. Aluminum is not so I am dealing with some magnetic material or alloyed with a magnetic metal.

They appear to be like the metal used as centers used on the 15" wheels. Also not magnetic.

The container does not mention what these are made. The instructions are a fair translation of some other language.

No. I have not had any electro chemical reactions with the aluminum and lath screw. I may need to attach Zinc to the frame to provide electrons to Element #13 which may be giving them up too freely.

Yes. I am examining the lath screw use as an alternative of a pop rivet very closely.

No. I have no professional lath screw resume of use nor option uses.

Yes. I did read the instructions with the package. It did not mention Airstream or alternative uses as rivets.

- It was the result of these harmonic vibrations that produced two daughters before the thought of lath screws entered my inventory of quick repairs to my new Airstream. This is given as a warning to those who want to fool Mother Nature substituting pop rivets with lath screws.

Anyone who wants to substitute a toothpick for a pop rivet to secure their interior, good. It has multiple uses and is just as effective.
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Old 06-19-2016, 03:59 PM   #28
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Interior Pop Rivet alternative substitute?

Tell me Ray, how do you know that these so called "lath screws" are not made of cobalt?

How do you know that you are not only destroying your trailer but not poisoning countless generations of campers to come while at the same time destroying the very earth itself via radiation poisoning?

I am losing patience with people like you who TINKER about without caring about the consequences. Oh sure, you claim you know what you are doing, but I am not seeing any PROOF at all.

I want proof that you are not destroying campgrounds and the earth, and I will not settle for anything less.

(toothpicks? Freaking seriously? Do you have any idea of how many trees are lost to toothpicks? )


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