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Old 06-22-2009, 07:07 PM   #15
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1974 31' Sovereign
Ottawa , ON
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My 16.8V drill is plenty fast to take out pop rivets, never tried a chisel (too chicken).

Most modern battery-powered drills have an adjustment for the speed vs. power, so read the manual and set it for highest speed.

If it's to be, it's up to me.
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Old 06-22-2009, 09:18 PM   #16
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1971 18' Caravel
Berkeley Springs , West Virginia
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We are new here and inexperienced, but let me tell you: at first, we HATED rivets. We searched AND SEARCHED for how to remove them. Almost everyone used 1/8" drill bits. We tried it, and it took us literally about 5 minutes to remove one rivet! We calculated it would take us about 2 hours just to remove the spice rack!

Come to think of it when I got the the bathroom disassembly on my 69 I had a heck of time with the rivets holding the bathroom surround together. Turns out they were stainless steel and a lot harder to drill out. The several hundred (thats what it seemed like) prior to that were easy with a regular cordless and standard bit. But those stainless rivets dulled a bit quicker than expected.

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Old 06-25-2009, 07:49 AM   #17
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1976 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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Exclamation Update

Here's an update on our rivet-with-chisel experience:

We found out yesterday that while a chisel works great getting out the inner furniture, walls, etc., it is not so great for removing all the rivets from the inner skin. Some of them removed very well.

However, when I got to the long rivets near the window that extend into the rib behind, the length of the rivet pulled down on the hole and expanded it. We are out the buy a better bit, or borrow an air compressor, or something today!

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That's what Michelle was talking about.
Terry & Natasha Turner
'76, 31' Sovereign International Land Yacht
Remodel Madness

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Old 06-25-2009, 01:57 PM   #18
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1972 29' Ambassador
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Drive the center pin back with a tiny punch!! That will make the chisel cut easier OR leaves a pilot hole for the drill to follow!! Remember strong steel mandrels will fight the chisel and the aluminum surrounds loose.

Know when multiple layers have even slight airgaps between layers allowed when the rivet was installed drilling seldomly gets it cleanly, the top layer is fair game but the next layer down one is chisel and drill territory. If and when you start drilling bucked rivets you will appreciate what 15,000 rpms and a sharp drill bit will do - zero effort and the aluminum melts away like butter with a hot knife.

Just to complicate things a little bit more they make a centering tool that the drill bit chucks into that makes it 98% accurate in in finding true center on the domed bucked rivets, just place it on and push lightly... next

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Old 06-25-2009, 09:33 PM   #19
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An automatic center punch will help as well.
Michelle TAC MT-0
Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

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Old 06-26-2009, 01:44 AM   #20
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Burned up drill bits.

Hi, while a high speed air drill may work OK for aluminum rivet heads, it is the number one cause of burned up drill bits. Drilling harder materials works a lot better with an electric drill motor. Check out the speeds used on drill presses. A nice curly-cue while drilling usually shows the best speed and pressure combination. There is no substitute for a sharp drill bit.

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Old 06-26-2009, 07:17 AM   #21
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Agree- split tip cobalt drill bits. My old Black and Decker (corded) drill has worked just fine, I'm sure I've drilled out thousands of rivets at this point.
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Old 06-26-2009, 02:52 PM   #22
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1976 31' Sovereign
San Antonio , Texas
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Question Cobalt bits rock!

Yes, they're right, cobalt bits are the way to go. We purchased one and used it for the first time today. Even with our regular 18v Black & Decker cordless drill it worked on a majority of the rivets.

On the rivets it didn't completely cut through, it weakened the heads enough that we were able to flake them off easily with the chisel without widening most of the holes. However, if you happen to slip with the drill - BAD NEWS! We made our first gouges into the vinyl cladding (?) today.

They weren't too noticeable - I hope. One other bad thing is that the drill does appear to make some of the holes bigger, just like the chisel. Is this because I'm a little off center when I'm drilling some of them? Will we have to buy bigger rivets to reinstall the skins?

This reminds me of a question someone else asked on another thread, but I don't think anyone answered: When the walls start looking like swiss cheese, can you just re-rivet into the old holes and hide how bad it looks? If there are any leftover holes from different placement of furnishings, etc., is there any kind of filler we can buy?
Terry & Natasha Turner
'76, 31' Sovereign International Land Yacht
Remodel Madness

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Old 06-26-2009, 07:52 PM   #23
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How about using a Dremel Tool. High speed and with a good bit could take the place of a portable or air driven tool.

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chisel, remove walls, rivets, skin

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