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Old 01-12-2005, 06:07 PM   #1
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Rivet Drilling out rivets...

I went to visit my Bambi yesterday and I am really excited to start working on her again. One of the first things I want to do is get her exterior ready for polishing.

At some point in the past tons of rivets were replaced with junky rivets that have the little holes in them. Then cheap silicon was used to fill the holes. Silicon was also applied in other areas (above the widow trim, between panels, etc) with very little attention to detail, just kind of slapped on.

So one of my first missions in restoring my Bambi is to replace all the old rivets with new one and have a couple segements fixed.

I need to get a powerful cordless drill and the right bits to drill out the rivets. I need cordless since I cannot work on my trailer at my place (highrise building). So I will either work on her at the storage facility or pull her to a park, etc and do a little work each weekend for the next couple of months.

Do you all have any suggestions on the best cordless tools. I have seen various "kits" at Home Depot that have a drill, little circualar saw, etc. Am I better off by buying a kit or each piece based on my needs?

Thanks for you help and input!!!
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:17 PM   #2
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I can't help, as I always try to stay within an extention cord's length of a plug Just wanted to say it's great to hear you're getting to play with the Bambi again. Seems like it's been a while!
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:21 PM   #3
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I have not worked on her since I moved to Dallas (30 month hiatus). I am REALLY excited to get started again and take things slow and do them right.

So back to tools... In the long run I want to buy a little qite honda generator. Maybe I should get that up front to give me portable power?

Do the cordless tools have good battery life?
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:29 PM   #4
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Batteries, Batteries, Batteries

This is my personal taste. I will go with a battery powered drill for any work useing less than a 3/8" drill bit in no more than 1/4" thick steel. I will use an AC powered drill motor for anything larger.
I have tried battery powered circular saws and "Skill saws", I find they just don't have the battery life to take you through any significant amount of work.
I guess I would find them a waste of money except in very specific situations and there are not enough of these situations to warrent purchasing them.
I own 2 Makita battery powered drills (12Vdc) and would not give them up to save my life. I use DeWalt (14Vdc) drills at work and they are great also. Stay away from 6 and 9 Vdc drill motors.
I would make sure I had at least 1 extra battery at all times, 2 if you are away from AC power.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Organic Hosting
I have not worked on her since I moved to Dallas (30 month hiatus). I am REALLY excited to get started again and take things slow and do them right.

So back to tools... In the long run I want to buy a little qite honda generator. Maybe I should get that up front to give me portable power?

Do the cordless tools have good battery life?
The generator is a great Idea.
The drills I use last a long time with small bits and not so long with larger bits.
As to how long they last (Battery life) if you mean between replacement of the pack, I have 2 packs I have used for about 5 years and they are starting to go but still very usable.
If you mean how long in use it depends on what you're doing.
I would say that I am happy with the work available in one battery pack in my drills.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:45 PM   #6
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I wil lbe drilling out a few hundred rivets and then once they are replaced I will be using he same drill with a rivet shaver.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:53 PM   #7
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I have also had excellent luck with Makita brand tools. I have 2 Makita 9.6 volt right angle drills. One I beat on for 8 years. I use to do mobile installation of car phones. I finally burned up the contacts on the switch. Filed them and got another year out of it. $25 for a new switch. I also have a 7.2 volt that is going on 16 years old and I still use it regularly. It even has one of its original batteries and was the drill I used when I got into the cell phone business.

Makita does have 12 volt batteries chargers available for any of their 12v and under products. Buy 1-2 spare batterys and for drilling rivets you could probably go a whole day.

Buy a quality drill bits. The individual bits in the red and black packages (I for get the brand) at home depot do quite well on holding their edge.
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Old 01-12-2005, 06:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Organic Hosting
...I need to get a powerful cordless drill and the right bits to drill out the rivets...Do you all have any suggestions on the best cordless tools....
I drilled out about a hundred interior aluminum rivets on the '78 Sovereign with a single charge on a Craftsman 19.5 volt setup - then, on the next charge, I freed up the front belly pan -

There is always a cost vs benefit arguement -

Not as expensive as a Makita or a Dewalt, but it does a great job for me.
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:15 PM   #9
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Any suggestions on easy removal of silicone that has been previously applied?
Former owners gooped this stuff everywhere and we are looking for an easy way to remove. Appreciate any advice
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Old 02-22-2005, 09:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 87MH
I drilled out about a hundred interior aluminum rivets on the '78 Sovereign with a single charge on a Craftsman 19.5 volt setup - then, on the next charge, I freed up the front belly pan -

There is always a cost vs benefit arguement -

Not as expensive as a Makita or a Dewalt, but it does a great job for me.
I bought a Sears 19.2 volt set last summer drill, circular saw, and sawzall. I and a small crew built a 40 X 40 two story building with it, and was amazed. We ran that little circular saw all day, every day. It simply is unbelievable how many cuts it will make on a battery charge. The drill runs and runs and runs as well, but I don't really like the weight. To use for an extended time I much prefer the weight of a12 volt or smaller drill and just change batteries more often.

The set, with 2 batteries and a flashlight was, I believe, $169.

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Old 02-23-2005, 05:20 AM   #11
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I use a Makita 18 v cordless drill/driver and got 6 years out of the 2 batteries rated 1.8 amp hr that come with the unit. I use the drill hard. They have upgraded from NiCd batteries to NiMH batteries and increased the amp hr capacity since I bought my unit. I just bought 2 new batteries rated at 2.2 amp hr and they are working out better than the previous ones for extended jobs. They also sell up to 3 amp hr 18 v replacement batteries but they are expensive. I'm another person sold on Makita products. Even my compound buffer is Makita.
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Old 02-23-2005, 05:40 AM   #12
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Do you really want to shave a few hundred rivets?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Organic Hosting
I will be drilling out a few hundred rivets and then once they are replaced I will be using he same drill with a rivet shaver.
Andy:

If you are doing any amount of work at all in the interior, you may want to consider just removing the interior panels and bucking conventional rivets in place - conventional soft aluminum rivets are less than a penny each, and bucked rivets are SO much easier (and cheaper) than Olympics - (conventional are about 7 bucks for 1000, the cheapest Olympic shaveable I have found are about 20 cents each) (http://www.rivetsplus.com/default.htm), - the price adds up when working in the hundreds of rivets.

To replace the interior panels "pop" rivets are used at about 3 cents each.

Bucking conventional soft aluminum rivets is cheap and easy - the downside is it takes two people that are able to work together as a team, and, of course, you have to be able to get at the backside of the rivet to buck it.

Tools are not that difficult to find - any conventional (cheap i.e. www.harborfreight.com/) air impact pistol can be used, and aircraft spruce (www.aircraft-spruce.com/) has a set of mandrel heads for less than 50 bucks. Another indispensable tool for doing a “few hundred” pop rivets is an air powered riveter (less than 40 bucks from Harbor Freight). Obviously the quality of tools I am referring to would not even be considered by a journeyman guild member, but the “cheapies”, as seldom as I use them, have served me well.

One tool that I would recommend buying quality though is a 7” polisher/buffer. At the end of a day of polishing your hands and arms will notice a definite difference between a $50 Harbor Freight and a $200 Makita (it's a real beeatch to get old).
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Old 02-23-2005, 09:08 AM   #13
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I found this linked thread informative but I still use the extension cord style for now. It is about Drills.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ead.php?t=9272

Andy is that 30 months with no Airstreaming or just that time since you have been able to do renovation work? Do you attend rallies etc? or is it just for hunting or a moblie motel room?

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Old 02-23-2005, 02:05 PM   #14
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Removing silicon:

I found a product that really works for helping get it off. It is called AMTEX-CCR. Check it out at the following website:

http://www.amtexchemical.com/pages/13/index.htm

For the areas that I have already worked on I mechanically removed the majority of the silicon and they started using the AMTEX-CCR. I brushed it on with a cheap paint brush, let it sit for 10 or 20 minutes and whiped it off. A second application sometimes was needed for stuborn areas. It really does remove the silicon residue. It also seems to go pretty far. I bought a quart and have not actually used all that much of it yet.

Drilling out and shaving rivets:

Check out the following thread for some discussion about rivets. In particular look at my posts there about an inexpensive rivet shaver that I bought that works fine for the relatively low volume of rivits that we need to shave.

http://www.airforums.com/forum...ad.php?t=13329

The site for the rivit removal tool seems to have changed a little over what I posted and is as follows. They seem to have added a "-" in their name and don't seem to have fixed all the links on their website.

http://www.aircraft-spruce.com/catal...vetremoval.php

This tool works just great for drilling out the exterior rivits. I used mine again this last weekend to take out a about 20 rivits and I really like the tool. It comes with the necessary drill bits too.

The following page has the rivet shaver tool (it also seems to have changed a bit):

http://www.airpartsinc.com/catalog2005_gif.htm

You need two parts: The Microcounterstop and the Rivet Shaver.

Hope this all helps.

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Old 04-19-2005, 09:28 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by 87MH
Bucking conventional soft aluminum rivets is cheap and easy - the downside is it takes two people that are able to work together as a team, and, of course, you have to be able to get at the backside of the rivet to buck it.
Are you saying that you do not need to get to the back of the rivet with the Olympic style rivets?
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:10 PM   #16
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Olympic rivets are the standard repair rivet used when you cannot get to both sides of the repair. It's a pretty heavy duty rivet that opens up much the way a drywall anchor does when you pull it tight.

They do leave a small stem though and that is what the shaver does. It smooths out the stem almost makes it invisable. The rivet then closely matches an original rivet.

One comment on drilling out external rivets. I think by far the best way is to chisel the head off and not drill it out. Once the head is off you can easily remove the pannel or window frame. Then chisel or dremal cut the remaining stems off flush with the body. When you go to put back your replacement rivets you use the original hole as a guide to drill out for your olympic rivets.

I replaced about 80+ rivets this way and it works great. Drilling could walk and end up messing up the frame or peice that you want to keep by elonging the hole out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bambi's Dad
Are you saying that you do not need to get to the back of the rivet with the Olympic style rivets?
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Old 04-19-2005, 12:30 PM   #17
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One comment on drilling out external rivets. I think by far the best way is to chisel the head off and not drill it out.
You are a better man than I. I can't chisel the heads off without either making the hole oblong and/or scratching the surrounding surface. I made several attempts using a sharpened scraper.

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Old 04-19-2005, 01:06 PM   #18
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I wouldn't want to think about trying to chisel the heads off of rivets on anything that I wouldn't want to mess up because I am sure I would end up with a mess.

To help keep the drill bit from walking off of the rivet heads I would suggest using a small spring loaded center punch to indent the heads before drilling.

I have an 18 volt Dewalt that I have put to hard use from time to time putting in 2 1/2" to 3 1/2" wood screws into pressure treated wood. At this rate a battery charge would last about 1 hour. This worked out well as the recharge rate for the spare battery was about 1 hour as well and I could swap them out and carry on. For recharging the batteries when there wasn't a regular power source available I would use a small (500w) inverter either plugged into my truck or a portable jump start unit.

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Old 04-19-2005, 01:18 PM   #19
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Quote:
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I wouldn't want to think about trying to chisel the heads off of rivets on anything that I wouldn't want to mess up because I am sure I would end up with a mess.
Try it, you'll like it

I got the advice from a well known AS service guy named Charlie Burke. The technique works great for me.

Everyone has their comfort level, best to stay within that!
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Old 04-19-2005, 01:25 PM   #20
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Thanks Tim!

What tools do you use to chisel the heads off?
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