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      • Published 17 Jul 2023
      • Last Modified 29 Aug 2023
    • 5 min

    What are Rivets?

    From the versatility of POP rivets to the strength of metal rivets, this guide provides a comprehensive understanding of rivets, including their types, applications, measuring techniques, and removal methods.

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    Many industries use rivets to permanently join materials together. Their shape is typically cylindrical with a tail at one end and a head at the other. By deforming the tail, rivets provide a secure and long-lasting connection between two or more components.

    How Do Rivets Work?

    Rivets work by deforming the tail end, which expands to fill the drilled or punched hole. The rivet and materials being joined are held firmly together by friction and compression. This mechanical connection provides strength, durability, and vibration resistance.

    The key steps in riveting are:

    1. To begin, the materials to be joined are drilled or punched to create a hole that matches the diameter of the rivet shaft. It's important to ensure the hole size is appropriate for the specific rivet being used
    2. The rivet is inserted into the hole from one side, with the head resting on the surface of the material
    3. A rivet gun is used to apply force to the rivet. The rivet gun holds the rivet in place while allowing the tail end to protrude
    4. When the rivet gun is activated, it deforms the tail end of the rivet. This deformation can occur through various mechanisms in accordance with the specific rivet type used
    5. As the tail end of the rivet deforms, it expands to fill the hole completely. This expansion creates compression and friction between the rivet and the materials being joined, ensuring a secure and long-lasting connection
    6. Once the rivet is fully deformed, the rivet gun is released, or the application process is completed. The deformed tail remains in place, holding the materials together firmly

    The unique design and deformation process of rivets makes them suitable for various applications, providing strength, durability, and resistance to vibration. By understanding how rivets work, you can make informed decisions regarding the selection and proper installation of rivets for your specific needs.

    Types of Rivets

    Rivets come in various types, each designed to suit specific applications and material requirements. Understanding the different types of rivets available is essential for selecting the best option for a particular project. Some common types of rivets are listed below:

    POP Rivet

    POP Rivets

    POP rivets, also known as blind rivets, are among the most common types used today. They consist of a mandrel, a hollow rivet body, and a head. POP rivets are easy to install, making them ideal for many different applications.

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    Plastic Rivet

    Plastic Rivets

    Plastic rivets offer lightweight and non-conductive properties, ideal when electrical insulation is required. Typically, they are used in automotive interiors, electronics, and consumer goods.

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    Metal Rivet

    Metal Rivets

    Metal rivets, made from materials such as steel or aluminium, offer high strength and durability. They find extensive use in heavy-duty applications, including construction, aerospace, and automotive industries.

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    Tubular Rivet

    Tubular Rivets

    Tubular rivets consist of a cylindrical body with a shank hole within the rivet shaft, and a head on one end. They are often available with different head styles for different applications. It is common to use tubular rivets for leatherwork, belts, bags, and other applications where a decorative and secure fastening is desired. Tubular rivets are typically set by peening or compressing the tail end, creating a tight connection.

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    Snap Rivet

    Snap Rivets

    Snap rivets offer a quick and efficient fastening solution. They are supplied pre-assembled and simply push into the required holes. Snap rivets are often used in applications that require a neat and fast solution, such as enclosures, packaging, and fabric fastening.

    Snap Rivets

    Copper Rivets

    Copper rivets are renowned for their electrical conductivity and corrosion resistance. They are often used in electrical and electronic equipment manufacturing.

    Screw Rivets

    Screw rivets, also known as threaded rivets, have external threads that allow them to be screwed into place. These rivets provide a strong and seamless connection.

    What are Rivets Used for?

    Rivets have a wide range of applications across industries due to their versatility and reliability. Rivets are used for:

    • Joining structural components in aerospace and automotive industries
    • Assembling furniture, cabinets, and fixtures
    • Fastening sheet metal and panels in construction
    • Securing electrical components in electronics manufacturing

    How to Measure Rivets

    Accurate measurement is crucial when selecting the right rivet for a specific application. To measure a rivet, follow these steps:

    • Diameter: Use a caliper or micrometer to measure the rivet's shaft diameter, excluding the head. This measurement determines the size of the hole needed for installation
    • Length: Measure the entire length of the rivet, including the head. Ensure the length allows for the proper deformation of the tail without bottoming out
    • Grip Range: For pop rivets, determine the grip range, which is the thickness of the materials to be joined. The grip range helps choose the correct rivet length to ensure a secure connection

    How to Remove Rivets

    Rivets are designed for permanence, but when disassembly or replacement is necessary, rivet removal becomes critical. Here's a general procedure for removing rivets:

    • Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the rivet shaft diameter to drill out the rivet head. This removes the material holding the rivet in place
    • With the head removed, use a punch and hammer to drive the remaining rivet body out of the hole from the opposite side
    • In some cases where access is limited, a grinding tool can be used to remove the rivet head without drilling. However, caution should be exercised to avoid damaging the surrounding materials


    Rivets are versatile fasteners used to create strong and permanent connections between materials. With various types available, including blind rivets, copper rivets, plastic rivets, screw rivets, and metal rivets, they offer a suitable solution for a wide range of applications. Proper measurement and installation techniques ensure optimal performance, while removal methods allow disassembly when necessary.

    Remember, selecting the right rivets and employing the correct installation techniques is essential to ensure the integrity and longevity of the joined components. By understanding the types and functionality of rivets, you can make informed decisions about your specific application requirements.

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