Properly Using a Rivet Gun

Luis & Fab's RV-7A Construction Log » Blog Archive » Riveting the Firewall

It is much more difficult to install solid rivets or use percussive riveting in an aircraft than blind rivets. For instance, you can install blind rivets while working alone with a simple hand tool. However, working with solid rivets is a much different process that requires a riveting gun, and knowing how to use it properly. 

The Riveting Process

For the riveting process, you will need a gun with an appropriate set and a bucking bar. First, you will use the gun to drive the rivet through a hole and into the bucking bar. This causes the rivet to swell and fill the hole. Then, you will continue to deliver blows until the head is flat against the surface. While blind rivets may follow a simpler process, they are often more expensive than solid rivets. 

Selecting a Riveting Gun

If you don’t own a riveting gun, be sure to check with other amateur aircraft builders to see what style they like. If this isn’t an option, you want to look for one that delivers slow blows and that you can control. You should also make sure that the gun you choose can accommodate a standard shank size for the set. This will allow you to drive any aircraft rivets

Compressed Air Sources

To operate your new gun, you will need a source of compressed air. Virtually any air compressor will work for the job because riveting guns do not require a large amount of air. 

Rivet Gun Accessories

Before using, you will need to make sure that you have the right set to drive the rivets you have. If you are using flushed head rivets, you can use any size set for a flushed head. However, when using raised head rivets, you will need to find the corresponding set. 

One of the most important processes you will use while building planes is driving solid rivets. By knowing more about the riveting process and the tools you will need, you can set yourself up for success during your projects.