Riveting in Sheet Metal Fabrication(pad printing Liz)

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Rivets are a common mechanical fastener used in sheet metal fabrication to join pieces of metal together. They create a permanent joint by deforming the tail of the rivet so it mechanically fastens the sheets together. Rivets come in a variety of styles, sizes and materials for different applications.
Types of Rivets Used in Sheet Metal
There are several types of rivets commonly used in sheet metal fabrication:
Solid Rivets - These are one of the most traditional types of rivets. They are solid all the way through and rely on mechanical deformation to create the fastening. Common materials are steel, copper, aluminum and Monel.
Blind Rivets - These rivets can be installed from one side of a sheet, without requiring access to both sides of the assembly. The mandrel stem is pulled to deform the rivet and create the fastening. Blind rivets are popular for field assembly and repairs.
Self-Piercing Rivets - As the name implies, these rivets pierce through stacked sheets of metal, displacing material rather than requiring a pre-drilled hole. The joint is formed in a single process step.
Split Rivets - These rivets have a pre-formed head on one end and splines on the shank. Hammering the head causes the splines to splay outward, mechanically clinching sheets together.
Tubular Rivets - These lightweight rivets have a hollow tubular body. They are applied using a specially designed compression tool to flare out the rivet body.
Rivet Materials
The most common materials used for rivets in sheet metal fabrication include:
- Steel - A versatile, strong and inexpensive material. Low carbon steels are easily deformed. Stainless steel offers corrosion resistance.
- Aluminum - Lightweight and easy to apply. Softer than steel for easier driving and clinching. Prone to galling and freezing.
- Copper - Does not spark, important in explosive environments. Becomes work hardened during riveting.
- Monel - Excellent corrosion resistance while maintaining ductility and strength. Used in harsh environments.
- Titanium - Very strong but lightweight. Excellent corrosion resistance. Challenging to drive without damaging.
Riveting Process
Installing rivets in sheet metal is a fast and straightforward mechanical process. It involves three basic steps:
1. Hole Preparation - A hole is drilled or punched through the sheets to be joined. The diameter matches the rivet size. Proper alignment is crucial.
2. Rivet Insertion - The rivet shank is inserted through the prepared hole. An upset head bottoms out on one side.
3. Setting & Deformation - The tail of the rivet is deformed using squeeze force. This flare clamps sheets together between the rivet heads.
Riveting can be done using manual tools or pneumatic rivet guns. CNC machines automate the process for high volume production. Proper technique is needed to avoid mistakes like underdriving, splitting or peening over.
Benefits of Riveting Sheet Metal
Riveting offers many benefits for joining sheet metal:
- Fast & permanent assembly. Once set, rivets do not come loose over time.
- Simple process requiring access from only one side. Minimal preparation needed.
- Allows some movement between parts. Useful for assembling components with looser tolerances.
- Variety of rivet styles and materials accommodate different needs.
- Minimal surface preparation compared to welding or bonding.
- Consistent results independent of operator skill. Quality is built into the fastener.
- Rivets concentrate stresses in a small area, unlike welding which can distort thin sheets.
- Installation Only requires simple tools - hammer, die, squeezer or pneumatic gun.
- Works for multi-layer joints - rivets can clamp several stacked sheets together.
- Improves fatigue life compared to welding - avoids localized heat-affected zones.
Applications of Rivets in Sheet Metal Products
Rivets are commonly used to assemble sheet metal components in many industries:
Aircraft Construction - Rivets are extensively used in airframe assembly. Aircraft-grade aluminum rivets are light, strong and reliable.
Electronics Enclosures - Electronics chassis and small enclosures use small steel or aluminum rivets. Blind rivets allow easy access.
HVAC Ducting - Specialized tubular rivets clinch the spiral seam on circular sheet metal ducts. They maintain air tightness.
Appliances - Kitchen appliances, computers and other consumer products are often assembled with steel or aluminum rivets.
Off-Road Vehicles - The body panels of ATVs, tractors and construction equipment are riveted for durability in harsh conditions.
Trailers - Various aluminum and steel rivets are used to fabricate cargo and utility trailers that need to withstand heavy use.
Building Products - Roofing, siding, gutters and architectural panels depend on rivets for secure long-lasting attachments.
Shipbuilding - Marine grade rivets securely assemble aluminum and steel components exposed to salty, wet conditions.
In summary, rivets are an essential mechanical fastening method in sheet metal fabrication across many industries. The riveting process quickly joins metal components to create durable, permanent assemblies. With the variety of rivet styles and materials, manufacturers can choose the optimal solution. CNC Milling CNC Machining