Rivets

I'm looking for cheapish tooling for attaching semi-tubular rivets.
They're to be used to join spring steel to polycarbonate or similar
clear sheet, and will usually be 1/8 diameter with a nickel plated head.
The obvious source (for both rivets and tooling) is an aircraft supply place, but most of the interesting ones seem to be based in the US. Is there somewhere here that would have them,preferably second-hand or cheap ? I know cheap and aircraft don't usually go together - is there some other area of use where lower quality is common ?
Quantities are small - a hand tool would be fine.
-adrian
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Adrian, my background is aircraft and for setting these and solid rivets we sometimes used "hand rivet squeezers". A good suplier is http://www.aetools.co.uk/ not cheap though and I have been out of the business for a few years. I think you will find the squeezer is about 200 and you will need to buy a couple of "sets" at about 25 each all plus VAT of course if that matters to you. Of course you could just buy a couple of hand sets and put one in the vice for the rivet head and attack the other end with the second set and a hammer but this always seems to need at least three hands.
If you are in the "make do and mend" mould and the reach (distance from edge of material to rivet) you require is only small, our guys used to make special "tools" for attaching fabric and other soft materials to sheet metal or clear plastic sheet with tubular or semi- tubular stainless rivets (up to 1/8" dia). These "specials" were nothing more than a good hefty pair of mole grips with a couple of short sets welded to the jaws. Once "set" for a particular job thickness the adjustment screw was locked with a blob of weld and anyone could put the rivets in. Without the adjustment locked we had lots of cracked clear sheets as they seemed to want to get the rivet just a little too tight. It does take a bit of trial and error to set these up but for setting a couple of rivets a day these would last quite a while. We were lucky that we could machine suitable sets for the jaw and harden as necessary but for low volume work mild steel will work for a bit. Try to crush one of the rivets you use in the jaws of a mole grip first before you bother making a tool though as you will be surprised at just how much force is required to set some small diameter stainless rivets. Please remember though that these were not production tools and the rivets were relatively soft. Still I'll give a full refund of the amount I charged for this advice if it doesn't work for you. :-)
Keith
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jontom snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Thanks, this sounds like an interesting idea. I'll have to experiment, though reach could be a problem.
Do you think a locking nut would do instead of the weld ?
-adrian
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Hi Adrian, yes you don't need the locking nut at all really; we just used the weld to stop the "non technical types" from adjusting the closing distance and cracking the clear sheet. A spot of locktight or something similar would do just as well and also allow for some adjustment if the jaws spread a little. I don't know if they are strong enough to close rivets but some of the welding clamps that are available have a longer reach than normal mole grips but they appear to be designed for lower closing forces. Still might be worth a look if normal moles won't do. How about a hefty G clamp modified in the same way with a stop on the thread to stop it being closed too far?
Regards
Keith
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On Mon, 21 Jan 2008 12:22:23 +0000, Adrian Godwin wrote:

Make your own punch and use a hammer.
--
Neil
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I'm concerned that there's no 'stop' and I'll crush the plastic. The plastic parts are vacuum-formed and will already have a fair bit of work on them before adding the metal parts, so I don't want many failures.
-adrian
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On Tue, 22 Jan 2008 09:34:00 +0000, Adrian Godwin wrote:

Make your own rivets. Turn them with a shoulder the same length as the parts they have to hold together plus an allowance for clearance using a washer with the same bore as the diameter of the rivet up to the shoulder riveting all three (plus) parts together.
--
Neil
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Why not use a pop rivet, I can help you with 200 and lend a tool if needed. Peter
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I've got a pop riveter, thanks, but these want to be shiny pan-head rivets for appearance as they're highly visible. Pop rivets just aren't the same.
-adrian
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Hello Adrian this type of rivet used to be called burfacated rivets and they used to be used on brake shoes for holding the linings on they used to spin rivet them using a high speed rotary tool with pressure applied downwards such as on a drill press I have used these many years ago but you need to try different sections on the rotary tool but in principal in section the tool looked like a inverted 'W' hope you get the job sorted Cheers Colin
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snipped-for-privacy@virgin.net wrote:

> Sorry Colin, no cigar. A bifurcated rivet has has a split shank and traditionally were more associated with leatherwork. You're thinking of tubular rivets.
Tom
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