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Can You Install Grooved Blind Rivets in Plastic?


grooved blind rivet on a white background

Rivets are increasingly used with plastics to assemble electronics, appliances, and other applications. Using rivets with plastics takes special considerations to get optimal performance. You must choose the right rivet design and materials for a lasting joint.

Plastics tend to be softer or more brittle than other materials, so choosing the right rivet is essential. You want a rivet that delivers a solid joint and won’t crack the plastic or pull out. You also want a rivet design that won’t crush the plastic. Grooved blind rivets are an excellent option for use with plastics if you know what to look for.


What Are Grooved Blind Rivets?

Grooved blind rivets are a type of blind rivet that fall into their own fastener category. They have the same basic design as any blind rivet with a rivet body and a mandrel. What makes grooved blind rivets different is how they secure the joint.

When installing conventional blind rivets, you insert the rivet into the hole and then pull the mandrel to collapse the end of the rivet on the blind side of the workpiece. The collapsed end creates the joint. With a grooved blind rivet, the rivet body has ridges to help it fit snugly in the hole. When you pull the mandrel, the body of the rivet expands, exerting outward pressure against the hole to form the joint.

The unique grooved blind rivet design makes it ideal for softer or brittle materials like plastic. When you match the rivet size to the hole diameter for a close fit, the rivet creates a secure bond in softer materials that won’t pull out. You can install grooved blind rivets using conventional rivet tools.


Choosing the Right Rivet for Plastics

When choosing a fastener to use with plastics, the goal is to find one that offers the right fit without damaging the materials.

Start with the hole size. You must have the exact hole size to choose a rivet that’s the correct diameter. If the hole is wider than the rivet, then the rivet won’t grip. If the hole is too narrow, the rivet may not fit; if it does fit, it may crack the plastic when you set it.

When choosing the proper grooved blind rivet for plastic or any soft materials, you need to consider various specifications to ensure a good joint, including:


Choose a rivet diameter that provides a firm fit. There should be little play in the hole before setting the rivet, but don’t make the fit so tight that it will crack the plastic. You want to ensure you have a strong fit with the shaft of the rivet pressing securely against the sides of the hole.

Grip Range

The grip range is the rivet length that grips the material. The grip range should match the combined thickness of the joined materials. If the grip range is too long, the rivet will be too long, and you won’t get a clean finish. A grip range that is too short won’t provide a lasting joint.

Head Type

You must also choose the right head type for a solid joint and optimal performance. The head must be large enough not to pull out. Depending on the finish you seek, you can choose a dome type, flat head, or countersunk head.


You must also consider the rivet materials you plan to use. You want to choose a material that is harder than the plastic. Most grooved blind rivets have bodies made of aluminum or steel, which is harder than most plastics. Also, consider whether the rivets need to have any special qualities. For example, do you need nonconducting steel alloy or nylon rivets to connect circuit boards or noncorrosive brass or coated rivets for marine applications or use with water?


Other Uses Beyond Plastics

Grooved blind rivets can be used with most soft materials, including wood, fiberglass, and even brick and concrete.

Installation procedures and criteria are the same. To avoid pullout, you must match the diameter of the grooved blind rivet to the hole. Also, check the grip length for the application and determine what type of head would be best for the job.

You also want to be conscious of your materials. If you are using grooved blind rivets for construction, for example, be sure they are made of hard materials that won’t corrode. When using grooved blind rivets to make wood furniture, consider using copper or brass with a rounded head so the rivet gives a finished look.

You can find a variety of grooved blind rivets for any application on the Bay Supply Marketplace. Just log in and explore to find the fasteners you need.