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Old 10-22-2014, 07:36 PM   #1
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Trouble with Olympic Rivets

I need a little advice on the best way to pull an Olympic rivet. I have about 10% of them break the mandrel inside the rivet instead of beyond the rivet head like they are designed to do.

I wonder if I got a bad batch of rivets? And I wonder if using my air riveter is not a good idea for Olympics. Maybe they need drawn tight slowly by hand. I've not done that enough to say there is a difference.

David
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:42 PM   #2
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If something is blocking the rivet from closing in its designed range, such as being in too thick of metal, they will tighten up early and break off short, as yours have. And, sometimes you get a bad one that just breaks of short on its own. I just drilled them out like normal. It's easy because the short ones have the hole to center up the drill bit.

For an Olympic that has been ground down flush, I take a small center punch and tap the center pin down a bit, then drill...

Hope that helps.

-Red
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:43 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by dbj216 View Post
I need a little advice on the best way to pull an Olympic rivet. I have about 10% of them break the mandrel inside the rivet instead of beyond the rivet head like they are designed to do.

I wonder if I got a bad batch of rivets? And I wonder if using my air riveter is not a good idea for Olympics. Maybe they need drawn tight slowly by hand. I've not done that enough to say there is a difference.

David
That is usually caused by some obstruction, like the side of a rib preventing one of the three legs to fully tighten. Sometimes rotating the rivet slightly helps, other times you have clip one of the legs.
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Old 10-22-2014, 07:43 PM   #4
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Also, I hand riveted all mine, and had a few break off like that...

-Red
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Old 10-22-2014, 09:51 PM   #5
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try doing a pop of the rivet by hand and by air... without installing in the metal. just free air them..

Then get some scrap of the same dimension and try..
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:24 AM   #6
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The Olympic rivets do have LONG legs. Maybe they require 3/8" clearance all around the hole so their legs can fold up. Hitting something would cause a side load on the mandrel as it is pulled tight.

I wish the legs on Olympic were shorter. Buck and Pop rivets don't require so much internal space. And in an Airstream, there is not a lot of internal space. These Olympic rivets looks like drywall anchors. I don't see the point.

I am using Olympic rivets on my old water heater and furnace patches. There is internal structure around these patches.

David
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Old 10-23-2014, 06:42 AM   #7
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When installing Olympic rivets close to a main bow, as an example, one of the 3 legs is hitting that bow, which causes the rivet mandril to break off below the head of the rivet.

The fix is easy.

Drill out the bad rivet, and trim one of the three legs of the rivet off.

Then install that rivet so that the missing leg will face the main bow.

Works every time.

Andy
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Old 10-23-2014, 12:55 PM   #8
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Hi Inland Andy!

Thanks for your suggestion, and the time to respond. Holly cow! You have nearly 16,000 posts on the Forums. Your willingness to share your extensive Airstream experience is very much appreciated.

Okay, I'll snip one of their little legs off and try again. Kinda reminds me of pulling wings of flys when I was a kid!

I wish they make Olympic style rivets without the legs, just a beefy tube for the mandrel to expand tight until it fractured proud of the rivet head. I like the way they shave down and look like a buck rivet. Decorative but deceiving.

David
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Old 10-28-2014, 08:40 AM   #9
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Hi Inland Andy!

Thanks for your suggestion, and the time to respond. Holly cow! You have nearly 16,000 posts on the Forums. Your willingness to share your extensive Airstream experience is very much appreciated.

Okay, I'll snip one of their little legs off and try again. Kinda reminds me of pulling wings of flys when I was a kid!

I wish they make Olympic style rivets without the legs, just a beefy tube for the mandrel to expand tight until it fractured proud of the rivet head. I like the way they shave down and look like a buck rivet. Decorative but deceiving.

David
David,

How did the snip-off work for you?

Andy
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Old 10-28-2014, 03:55 PM   #10
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Well, I haven't tried it yet. I haven't started my "winter projects" on the Trade Wind. It may be a while. I have squeezed one down watching their legs expand. The thing takes the foot print of a "nickel" diameter behind the surface. I really don't know why it was designed this way. I'd rather have it clamp like a pop rivet but with the mandrel breaking above the head for smooth shaving.

But I do believe your tip will work.

Thanks Andy,

David
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