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Old 02-28-2010, 01:23 PM   #21
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Thanks guy'. That clears it up.

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Old 03-02-2010, 10:23 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bimpy View Post
What the heck size is #20 and #30 bits? I have been using 9/64 on most of the interior rivets. When I go to the store I can never find bits labeled #20 or30
Great question. I have often wondered the same about bit sizes.
Thanks for getting to the answer. Thanks to all for solid answers
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:30 AM   #23
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Try this:

Drill bit sizes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 03-02-2010, 10:36 AM   #24
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I went to an Ace Hardware yesterday and they had a large variety of numbered bit sizes.

They also had a variety of 1/8" pop rivets—bigger and smaller heads and strengths. I hope I got the right ones.

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Old 03-02-2010, 11:42 AM   #25
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tools and parts

Generally speaking, when your working on something special, like an Airstream, the place to find tools and parts, is a "special" store.

When working on common things, then the common parts stores are the places to go.

Drill bits for Airstream work, are available from some dealers.

Andy
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:40 PM   #26
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I just noticed this old thread and see a lot of good info in it. However, the "huge myth" described below about #20 bits for 5/32" Olympic rivets is a false alarm. The best authority for what size bit to use with Olympic rivets is the company that makes Olympic rivets, Gesipa. Here's what they spec:
Item # RV6607-5-5, Aluminum Rivet/Aluminum Mandrel on Gesipa Fasteners USA

Frankly, a #21 bit is good too, as long as the rivet doesn't get burred as it is inserted in the hole. Happy riveting!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
There are 3 drill bit sizes for the rivets that Airstream has used for many years.

1/8" rivets use #30 drill bit

5/32" rivets use #21 drill bit

3/16" rivets use #11 drill bit.

A #20 drill bit is a double oversize for the Olympic rivets, and should not be used as it does not fill the holes as well as the #21 drill bit.

If your going to buy the drill bits, buy the correct sizes.

The use of the #20, is a huge MYTH, and does not do an excellent job nearly as well as the #21 drill bits.

The Olympic rivets are .15625 in diameter.

#21 is .159"
#20 is .161"

Some people use a 5/32 inch drill bit, and wallow out the hole, when using Olympic rivets.

That's not a good idea when doing sheet metal work, unless you kick quality and precision to the curb.

Water leaks can happen, in spite of top quality, let alone begging for leaks.

Andy
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #27
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Whatever rivet you use be careful buying from a local hardware store, most of what they have are aluminum with a STEEL mandrel, these will rust eventually and are alot harder to remove.
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Old 02-20-2012, 02:50 PM   #28
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The Airstream factory, has very recently come out with a "Official Airstream Rivet Kit".

Amoung other things included are #30, #21 and #10 drill bits.

A #20 allows a little extra "slop" that should never be used when doing Airstream sheet metal work.
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Old 02-21-2012, 10:25 PM   #29
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I'm learning. If you all just keep this up I might become an expert. Seriously, I have some rivets that are loose on my awning track as well as one popped near the top of the door. That is the reason for looking at this and other threads about rivets and bits. I want to thank each of you for valuable information.
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Old 03-29-2012, 03:06 PM   #30
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Sometimes I can't sleep at night. Usually because my Airstream is leaking ;-) ... but sometimes because I'm focused on some ridiculously small detail of a part we sell.

In this case, the matter keeping me awake is drill bits. Of course this is somewhat silly since only .002" separates the two bit sizes we are discussing here. We're talking about the best drill bit for an Olympic blind rivet here. The debate is between #20 and #21 sizes. #20 drill bits are .161" diameter. #21 bits are .159" diameter. You can drill a hole with each next to each other and you won't be able to tell them apart.

However, much has been written about this subject so I did some research online by looking at the resources available from Gesipa (who makes Olympic rivets) and Alcoa (who makes Marson) and a bunch of other major blind rivet manufacturers. In that web search, I am consistently finding all manufacturers recommending #20 bits for blind riveting.

But wait: this is not an "I told you so" posting. I found something else. While I was researching, I decided to look at some of my old and trustworthy airframe mechanic's books to see if the same recommendation holds true for solid buck rivets (the kind used to build Airstream exteriors). The answer surprised me:

Aircraft Sheet Metal (Jeppesen Sanderson Training Products, 1988) says: "Alcoa claims that a rivet should fit as tight as possible before driving, especially those rivets of harder alloy." Airstream rivets are one of the softest rivets available (1100), so it is less important than with a hard rivet. However, the book states the ideal rivet for a 5/32" solid rivet is a #21.

Standard Aircraft Handbook (McGraw-Hill, 1999) says: "Holes must be clean, round, and of the proper size. Forcing a rivet into a small hole will usually cause a burr to form under the rivet head." The book states that the proper size for a 5/32" solid rivet is #21.

Aircraft Sheet Metal Work
(McGraw-Hill, 1942) says: "Rivets should fit snugly. The best clearance is the smallest one that will permit the rivet to be inserted easily and without delay." The book states that the proper size for a 5/32" solid rivet is #21.

So... it looks like #20 bits are recommended for blind riveting with Olympic and other "pop" style rivets. And #21 bits are recommended for solid buck riveting. Remember that we are talking about so little difference in sizes that it probably doesn't matter as much as the fact that you probably ovaled that hole badly when you drilled out the original 1/8" rivet.

My takeaway for this is that we are now going to start selling #21 bits alongside the #20 bits we sell. And we will explain why on our site.

I will add this: when I was working on my 1956 Airstream this past weekend, I was using a #20 bit to ream out the old 1/8 holes so I could reattach a chimney on my trailer. Even after reaming with a #20, and using plenty of clecos, I couldn't get the darn rivet in the hole a few times because the holes wouldn't stay aligned.

Enough on this topic...I'm going to get some sleep.
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Old 03-29-2012, 04:22 PM   #31
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Steve.

Rivets require round holes.

Typical drilling makes an imperfect hole, that is ever so slightly triangular.

That's the cause of the ill fit of the rivets.

The simple design of drill bits allows that to happen.

The triangular hole allows a very small portion of the rivet to rest against the metal. The larger the hole, the more movement the sheetmetal can make, which in time, elongates the holes.

But, I would go with the Aircraft Industries any day over RV companies or their suppliers.

Andy
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