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What Are the Main Types of Blind Rivets?


What Are the Main Types of Blind Rivets_ Blog Image

Although humans have been using rivets for millennia, blind rivets are an innovation of the 20th century. Blind rivets are easy to install, solid, reliable, and have a clean and consistent finish. Blind rivets are so versatile that people continually find new uses for them in manufacturing, construction, and repair.

All blind rivets have a basic design with a rivet body and a mandrel. You set the rivet by pulling the mandrel to flatten the rivet body on the blind side of the joint. While the basic blind rivet configuration is universal, there are important variations to consider depending on the application. 

Blind rivets are made of different materials with different coatings to improve performance and prevent corrosion. The rivet length and other factors contribute to delivering a proper grip and lasting installation. Blind rivet configurations also vary to accommodate different applications, such as manufacturing, repair, or installation using portable tools.

Here’s a quick overview of the different types of blind rivets and when to use them.


Stronger by Design

Blind rivets are designed to outperform most other types of fasteners. They won’t loosen once installed and don’t corrode when you choose suitable materials and coatings. Blind rivets are generally more resilient than any other fastener type when correctly installed.

What makes blind rivets different from solid rivets is that they only need to be accessed from one side. Conventional solid rivets require access to both sides of a workpiece for installation. Once the solid rivet is in place, you strike the head on one side with a hammer while using a bucking bar to flatten the rivet on the other side. For large jobs, such as construction or shipbuilding, two workers must install solid rivets—one on each side of the joint.

Blind rivets evolved from aircraft manufacturing. When manufacturers started making airplanes out of metal in the 192os, it became clear that solid rivets would be difficult to install. Hamilton Neil Wylie patented a new kind of tubular rivet in 1916; Wylie went to work for Armstrong Whitworth Aircraft. Wylie’s rivet design ultimately became the pop rivet that is popular today.

Pop rivets are ideal for applications such as aircraft manufacturing because they can be installed from one side by one person. To set a pop rivet, the installer places the rivet in the hole and pulls the mandrel to collapse the rivet on the blind side. Then, the rivet tool removes the mandrel for a clean finish.

Since they first appeared in the 1920s, blind rivets and rivet tools have evolved and are now available in different sizes, shapes, and materials for different applications.


The Basic Types of Blind Rivets

There are dozens of blind rivets to choose from, depending on use. Some of the most common types of blind rivets are:

Pop Rivets 

Pop rivets are among the most common types of rivets. They are called pop rivets because they make a popping sound when installed. Pop rivets are commonly used for manufacturing, repairs, and high-strength joints to connect metals, plastics, wood, and leather.

Closed-End Rivets

Most pop rivets are typically open-ended, but when you need a waterproof joint, you use closed-end rivets. Closed-end rivets are used to make boats, containers, and tanks and for marine and outdoor applications that need to be waterproof.

Structural Rivets 

Some applications require structural rivets, such as the Huck bolt, that can withstand extreme stress and vibrations. For example, the Huck Rivet Hucklok® provides a double-locking system that resists vibration and moisture.

Multi-Grip Rivets 

When specifying the rivet type, you need to calculate the proper rivet grip range to ensure a solid joint. When you can’t be sure of the grip range or want to reduce the number of blind rivets in your inventory, blind multi-grip rivets offer a wider grip range so that you can use the same rivets for different thicknesses.

Peel Blind Rivets 

There are occasions when you want to use blind rivets with softer materials, such as fabrics, plasterboard, or plastics. To prevent pullout, consider using peel blind rivets. When installed, peel blind rivets feel the shaft on the blind side to cover a larger surface area and distribute the load to prevent pullout.

Grooved Blind Rivets 

Another rivet designed to prevent pullout is the grooved blind rivet. Whereas most blind rivets have smooth bodies, the grooved blind rivet has a ridged rivet body. When the rivet fits snugly in the hole, pulling the mandrel expands the rivet so the ridges press against the sides of the hole to form a robust and vibration-resistant joint that won’t pull out.  


Considerations When Choosing Blind Rivets

There are multiple considerations you need to make when choosing the best blind rivet for any application. For example, how much load will the rivet need to carry? You want to choose a rivet that is strong enough to last. What environment will the rivet have to withstand? Are there corrosive, excessive vibration or stress, or other considerations? What materials will offer the best performance?

When considering the right type of blind rivet, choosing the right rivet materials is a major consideration. Most blind rivets use steel mandrels, but you may want to consider stainless steel or other materials if the rivet is being used in a harsh environment. The critical choice is in the blind rivet body. Blind rivets are available in steel, aluminum, brass, nickel, and other materials. Choose a suitable material for the application. For example, aluminum rivets are lightweight but strong, and brass rivets won’t corrode in seawater.  

You also need to consider the rivet specifications. For example, the diameter of the rivet should match the hold size to prevent loose joints. The grip range needs to match the material thickness. The rivet head should be large enough so it doesn’t pull through, and the shape of the head will provide a different finish. You should also match the rivet size to the materials. For example, use larger heads for softer materials. You may also want to use grooved rivets for wood or peel rivets to prevent pullout.

As you can see, blind rivets are incredibly versatile. Choose the right rivet for the job and review the rivet specifications to get the best performance. It also pays to consider all the necessary parameters, such as ensuring the rivets are easy to remove and install and that there is no risk of over-torquing the rivet and damaging the materials.

The Bay Supply Marketplace offers a comprehensive catalog of blind rivets. To help choose the best blind rivet for your next job, read our Essential Guide to Blind Rivets.