How to Use a Rivet Gun

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Rivet guns are available as a hand-operated, air-operated or electrically-operated tool, and they require using the right tip attachment for the type of rivets being used. Find out how to use a rivet gun with instructions from an experienced carpenter and construction specialist in this free video on home repair.

Part of the Video Series: Home Repair Tips
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Video Transcript

My name is Mark Blocker, in this segment we're going to cover how to use a rivet gun. OK, for demonstrative purposes, what I have here on the table is a hand operated rivet gun, they are also available in air operated or electrically operated rivet guns. This one is used manually. What a rivet gun does is it's used to install pop rivets. The first thing you need to do is make sure that you have a right tip attachment in for the type of rivets that you're using. The tip attachment, the shaft or shank of the rivet should fit into the attachment snugly. It shouldn't be loose or shouldn't be tight, it should go in there and fit correctly. There's usually several different mounting attachments for the head depending on the size of rivets you're using. OK to install the rivet itself, you must unlock the pliers, they'll be in open position, just simply insert the rivet all the way in, that will hold the rivet in place and for demonstrative purposes so you can see both sides of the rivet and how it operates, I'm going to rivet two bolts together, or excuse me, two nuts together. Now once the rivets are on there, what's going to happen when I use hand pressure, I'm going to squeeze this rivet gun together and what it's going to do is pull the blindside of the rivet through and that's expanding the backside of the rivet, the aluminum portion, expanding it out and fastening to these two devices together. And what's going to happen while I'm squeezing together and it's expanding it's going to get a predetermined load range and then it's just going to cut off the remainder of that shank off the rivet. You'll hear it pop when that happens. And as that becomes tight, whoops, see how it just cut the blind head of the rivet off and that will now fall out of the gun? What the rivet has done by pulling this shank through with a larger head, it's swages out the backside of the rivet and that swage between the front part and the back part is what holds the two devices plates of metal or whatever you happen to be riveting together, it might be plastic components, whatever the case may be. But that's how a rivet gun works.

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