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Old 04-09-2008, 09:45 AM   #1
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Solid Rivet Styles - Data

I've been replacing my Vintage exterior driven rivets (brazier head) with a modern replacement (universal rivets). They look fine. But today I stumbled on the Jay-Cee site and it appears the brazier rivets (and rivet sets) are still available.

One of the big advantages of the universal head rivet is that it is widely available and the larger diameter of the shank allows you to drill out a bad hole for a better fit. I find this to be particularly useful/comforting when I take out a window and see the poor hole quality and less than minium edge distances created by the original installers. I doubt I'll change back to brazier rivets, but here's the data:

They Jay-Cee Sales and Rivet site:
Rivets, rivet gun, copper rivets, riveters, rivet tools, rivet nuts, split rivets - Jay Cee Sales and Rivet Inc

Rivets are available from many other sites--Aircraft Spruce and Genuine Aircraft Hardware.

The Vintage Brazier Head Rivet:
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The Universal Head Rivet:
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Other Rivet Styles:
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Rivet sets (thanks to AEROWOOD for reminding me that this is an issue):

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:47 AM   #2
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I have wondered what an olympic rivet is exactly. This data seems to put the olympic rivet in the wider context I had been looking for. Thanks for this post and the links.
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:50 PM   #3
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Olympic Rivet diagram

Olympics are a blind (pop) rivet that work slightly different from the standard pop rivet. You pull (or "pop") it the same, but instead of the shaft deforming into a large diameter, the shaft splits into three (4?) legs that splay out against the underside of the skin. The mandrel breaks above the surface of the rivet dome and you shave it down to achieve a solid rivet appearance.

I avoid them if I can--the mandrel pushes inward too easily and I don't think they have as tight a grip as a regular pop rivet. Plus, if you get the ones with the neoprene washer, many say that the washer fails over time and leaks.


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Old 04-09-2008, 07:55 PM   #4
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Zep - If you aren't using the olympics, do the other brands end up with a closed end? ie:do you have to seal any small holes after the end snaps off?
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:19 PM   #5
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Zep,

If you want to have the same head shape as the original, but be able to oversize the original holes, use the Modified Brazier Head. It's the same head, but the stem is 1/32" oversize.
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Old 04-09-2008, 11:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by centennialma
Zep - If you aren't using the olympics, do the other brands end up with a closed end? ie:do you have to seal any small holes after the end snaps off?
I do use the Olympics, rarely. But you do have to shave them, or sand them, or dremel them to finish off the head. I usually tear things apart to the point I can use a bucked rivet.

It's not just sealing the small hole that makes the other pop rivets unsuitable--the Olympic actually duplicates the nice dome shape of the bucked rivet.

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Old 04-09-2008, 11:17 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdoane
...If you want to have the same head shape as the original, but be able to oversize the original holes, use the Modified Brazier Head. It's the same head, but the stem is 1/32" oversize.
But like the man said, ... commonly available... which is what makes the universal head rivet a good choice. Besides, now that I know there are other choices, what the heck am I to do with 6 rivet sets for universal heads, not to mention about 9 lbs of universal rivets in all sizes and lengths? I guess I'm just looking for mechanical perfection, with a nod toward the visuals, and not perfect appearance.

But it is something to think about. And thanks for pointing that out because I didn't notice, myself.

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Old 04-10-2008, 12:24 AM   #8
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I noticed that Inland RV has some rivets on sale in their sale site. Pretty good price I think
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Old 04-11-2008, 08:58 AM   #9
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Thumbs up What's a "set"?

I am very grateful for your post. I am new to rivets, learning a lot because I want to do good work on my Trade Wind.

I understand most of your post, but I do not know what you and Aerowood are saying about "sets." Apparently, this does not mean a set of different sizes, like a set of wrenches, but something else more technical.

I Googled rivet set and found this statement in which the context is aircraft riveting:

Notes On Riveting

One bullet point says, "Place masking tape on rivet sets to stabilise them while riveting. (renew frequently)".

Wikipedia article mentions a rivet-set, in high-strength steel industrial applications:
Rivet - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

And this academic article introduces set as a verb, noun, adjective, and adverb: to set, and once set, produces a set that can be observed in place, and descriptive of a rivet as being set.
ScienceDirect - Journal of Materials Processing Technology : FEA modelling of setting and mechanical testing of aluminum blind rivets

I'm digging into this now... Thanks for the start on some good research.

Anne
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:03 AM   #10
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The "set" is the interface between the head of the rivet and the pnumatic rivet gun. Putting tape on the set just makes a tape adhesive mess on the rivet head. Rivet tape is available but all it does is keep the rivets fron falling out of the holes while surrounding rivets are bucked. It works great for production. It only has adhesive on the edges of the tape.
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #11
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So, if you use clecoes, is taping the rivet set (see, I know what it is now-- thanks) necessary?
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:37 AM   #12
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Anne,

A "rivet set" is a tubular hammer that is placed on the head of the rivet (it has a cup in the end the same shape as the rivet head) and used to apply hammer taps to the rivet. You (if your arms are long enough) or another person holds a weight against the back end of the rivet, which deforms (or "sets") the rivet. Yes, you hammer on the head, but it's the tail that deforms. Here's what some "rivet sets" look like (usally black, but this was the first photo I found).


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The rivet sets are used in a "gun" like this one. They are held in by the spring on the nose of the gun. The gun doesn't use much air, so a small compressor is adequate.


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"Bucking" (or setting) solid rivets is easy. AEROWOOD showed me how in about 5 minutes. The important thing is that you can't use a regular auto body air hammer--too much force. You need a #3 rivet gun for most of the small rivets we use in the Airstream community. The sets are interchangeable between guns, if you use the standard .401" shank. There is a larger shank, I believe .498" or so, but these are for bigger work.

You can find all the tools at Brown Tool or Aircraft Spruce, and many other places. If you get a gun, get a small air pressure valve (about $13) so you can turn the air way down when you buck the smallest rivets. You'll know you've got too much air pressure when you see little horse shoes in the rivet heads (hammer is bouncing off the head and then re-striking off center).

If you want to do flush rivets, you'll also need a microstop countersink (about$25) with cutters for 3/16 and 1/8 rivets. You are now totally set to be Rosie Riveter. Or Annabelle the Anvil, or whatever.

It is surprising how little rivet "tail" needs to protrude on the back side to be set correctly. If it's too much, it will fold over--you want about 1.5 times the diameter to protrude, before setting. Aircraft quality rivets come with a dash number, which is in 16ths of an inch, the shortest being a -3. But the diameter of the rivet is specified in 32nds, so a 3/32" rivet is a 3 and 1/8" is a 4, etc. You will only be interested in diameters of 4's and 5's, at first. If you're joining two pieces of skin, which is 0.032" thick, you'd have 0.064" of material--basically 1/16th thick. The optimum rivet length for this is a -3, but a -4 will work. If you're using a 1/8 rivet it would be a 4-3 (or 4-4).

Aircraft Spruce will sell rivets in as small a quantity as 1/4 pound, which for these sizes is a couple hundred rivets, at least. You'll need a good selection of lengths (ribs and things can add 1/8th thickness alone, plus skins), probably every length from -3 to -6, then maybe -8, -10, and -12.

Rivets come in many hardness levels, but A (soft) and AD (hard) are common. I thought I'd like the soft ones best, but they are too easy to drive and you often over drive them and flatten the tail (which you now have to drill out and do over). The hard (AD) rivets reuire a few more hammer blows to set correctly, so you have more control. Plus, if you under drive a rivet, just put the hammer back on and give it a few more taps--you can't unflatten one, on the other hand. So I'm going to switch to all AD rivets in future.

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyAnne
So, if you use clecoes, is taping the rivet set (see, I know what it is now-- thanks) necessary?
Tape is not ever "necessary." For the small work we do in refurbishing, probably never is the right word. But the tape concept in the web page you linked, eg, "Place masking tape on rivet sets to stabilise them while riveting. (renew frequently)", is to put the tape on the "set" so it doesn't slip.

Clecos don't do anything for the rivets. They just ensure that the parts are perfectly aligned. Well, "perfectly" isn't quite right. If you have a curved assembly you need to hold it in approximate shape--you'll see that the clecos allow some small deviation, so you won't wind up with the right shape if you rely solely on clecos. The danger is that when you put the clecos in the shape will look "similar," but it will be significantly different in curvature and once the rivets are in you'll be stuck with that curve, not the one you wanted. This is not a problem with flat joints or with the slight curve you see in the sides of an Airstream. But it is a problem in tighter curves, like the front and back dome.

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Old 04-11-2008, 09:48 AM   #14
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Wow -- thanks so much, Zep. I need all of this detail and you saved me about a day of library time.

I wonder if Rolls Royce engine here in Indy would let me pay them to come and learn how to rivet like a pro? Earn my Rosie points?

The specs on the rivet sizes are great to know. I keep trying to tell our 8 year old why learning fractions is so important. This will be yet another object lesson on the way. Maybe she will want to be an engineer.

Already, I am imagining ways to use aluminum around the house. New mailbox, doghouse, pool shade, kitchen backsplash, etc.

I am so excited to get the compressor and tools! Tax refund might be best applied to retirement, but, then, what's an Airstream for???

Blessings,
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:53 AM   #15
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correction noted

Oops -- I get it, the set goes in the gun. I was thinking of the mandrel in the pop rivet category. It's pretty clear I need to get some practice and get out of my head (a very scary place).

Quote:
Originally Posted by IndyAnne
So, if you use clecoes, is taping the rivet set (see, I know what it is now-- thanks) necessary?
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Old 04-11-2008, 09:59 AM   #16
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Fortunately, the worst curvature I have to work with right away will be curving under toward the belly pan. There is a set of dents on one of the curved back panels above the back window, but that is so far down the priority list, I'm hardly thinking about it. Probably, if I survive the structural repairs and torn skin repairs, the bathroom floor replacement this summer, I'll begin to obsess about polishing and removing dings. Slow and sure wins the race, at least for this tortoise.
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Old 04-11-2008, 10:17 AM   #17
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When you get rivets, they will not look like aluminum due to corrosion protection that's on them. Here's an example of an ongoing project.

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The rivets appear brass or gold. Not to worry. Here's a second panel where the rivets have been "polished" (a little Nuvite on a finger tip, really, didn't take much).

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The point of the photo is that I had to make two panels that were 51" long and 28" high. Crap, won't fit in one 4x8 sheet of aluminum. Instead of buying another sheet or looking for a 4x10 or 4x12 sheet, I decided that a small extension and patch wouldn't look too bad. The joint runs near the front window and will go under the screen at the top end. I decided that I didn't want the rivet heads to raise the screen frame off the skin, so I used flush rivets where the edge of the frame crossed the joint. I also wanted the skin to lay flat on the widow frame, so I reversed the rivets there and put the flush head on the back--the tails will be under the screen frame and will not be visible.

Here's the full joint, which I think is OK. I used 3/32nd rivets closely spaced (3/4") to get what I felt was a good balance. Fewer rivets would have done fine mechanically, but esthetically I think the joint needed the close spacing. Besides, I like the 20,000 leagues under the sea look.

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The area of the joint is pretty tightly curved to match the interior curve from the side wall to the front window and the joint curves easily to fit. That probably wouldn't be true if the joint was more horizontal.

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Old 04-12-2008, 09:58 AM   #18
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Don't let that big octopus git u.

That's beautiful work!
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Old 04-19-2008, 10:58 AM   #19
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I have the lower interior skins out of my AS and for the first time I'm seeing what all these rivets look like from the inside. From this angle (the blind one) they certainly aren't very aesthetically pleasing! I was surprised to see what a buck rivet looks like from inside versus the olympic rivet. I was also surprised at the number of olympic rivets I find. Why would the factory use pop rivets when they could easily have used the solid more substantial ones? I had suspected that the factory used primarily solid rivets but apparently this is not the case. I am finding the olympic pop rivets in windows and in exterior skin. I am also finding lots of leaks around the olympic rivets. Your post has sparked an interest in the advantages of solid rivets. Since I now have access to the interior should I consider replacing these olympics with a buck or solid style?
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Old 04-19-2008, 11:36 AM   #20
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I would definitely replace them if I had access. Check on diameters, I think the Olympics are larger. You need to select the right replacement so that the head diameter is similar to the factory bucked rivets. For example, a 1/8th brazier rivet (the originals) and a 5/32nd modified brazier have the same head diameter, which allows you to redrill the hole but still have the same head size (for appearances).

I also found several places in a '75 Ambassador where the windows were installed with Olympics. I thought for sure it was a repair, but now that you mention it, it may have been the vista view windows and they may have been added as an "option" after the original shell was completed.

I'd be interested if anyone else has found Olympics where they expected bucked rivets and whether or not it looked like a factory original or as a result of maintenance.

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