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When Should I Use a Mate Rivet?


When Should I Use a Mate Rivet?

When you think about rivets, you usually think about one-piece fasteners designed to join two pieces of material. Solid rivets are designed to be installed using a bucking bar to flatten one end. There are also blind rivets designed with a shaft and a mandrel that you pull to form a secure joint on the blind side of a workpiece. These types of rivets are one-piece fasteners that are easy to install. 

There are also mate rivets, which are two-piece fasteners that must be slotted together to form a joint. Mate rivets are similar to blind rivets; only the mandrel isn’t part of the rivet itself. Mate rivets are installed by inserting the male half of the rivet into the female half and then pulling the mandrel to set it—just like a blind rivet.

Mate rivets are often called bulbed rivets because the blind side of the fastener develops a bulb to create the joint when the mandrel is pulled. Cherry Aerospace makes the most common types of mate rivets, including the CherryMAX®, although other mate rivet brands exist.

Mate rivets are handy for joining thin materials that could be damaged using other types of rivets. For example, they’re typically used in making appliances or mounting road signs because they’re strong, lasting, and tamperproof. You should have mate rivets in your fastener inventory for specific applications, so here we offer a brief overview of mate rivets.


What Is a Mate Rivet?

Mate rivets are different from other fasteners in that they come in two pieces, with the tube as one half and the rivet as the other half. To create a mate rivet joint, the tube portion must be fitted into a pre-drilled hole and inserted in the rivet portion on the opposite side. When the mandrel that is part of the tube is pulled, it forms a bulb inside the rivet to form the joint.

Mate rivets are set much like blind rivets. Once the mandrel is pulled, it’s snapped off to create a clean joint. Unlike blind rivets, mate rivets require you to have access to both sides of a workpiece to form a joint. However, mate rivets can be installed using conventional rivet tools.

Mate rivets are most often used to join thin layers of metal. Some typical applications are connecting street signs and building lockers, stadium seating, truck beds and trailers, animal pens, and fences. Mate rivets are usually made of steel, aluminum, or a combination of steel and aluminum and are designed to last, even in bad weather.

Shop Mate Rivets >


The Advantages of Using Mate Rivets

The unique design of mate rivets offers various advantages:

Mate rivets don’t require an exact hole fit. 

Most solid and blind rivets require a snug fit in the pre-drilled hole to form a lasting joint. You have more leeway with mate rivets. Even when the hole is somewhat larger, mate rivets can create a secure joint if the rivet heads are large enough.

Mate rivets have a longer grip range. 

The grip range of a rivet can vary, but with a mate rivet, you have a wider grip range, which is why they’re useful for connecting poles, beams, or wider materials.

Mate rivets are tamper-resistant. 

Once installed, mate rivets are difficult to remove. That’s why they are preferred for applications such as stalls in public restrooms and school lockers. Mate rivets are resistant to vandalism.

Mate rivets are vibration-resistant. 

Once set, mate rivets are also resistant to vibration. The bulbed fastener design maintains a strong joint even in rigorous environments, which is why mate rivets are often used in trailers, trucks, machinery, and similar applications.

Mate rivets can be installed using conventional rivet tools. 

Mate rivets are installed like any blind rivet and can be set using handheld, battery-powered, or pneumatic tools. Mate rivets are ideal for field repairs because they can be installed using manual or portable tools. However, mate rivets aren’t designed for quick installation and are seldom used in manufacturing.

Mate rivets won’t damage the materials. 

You can control the pressure of mate rivets, which won’t crush the workpiece since the mandrel expands within the rivet. You will often see mate rivets used for softer materials, such as plastics, leather goods, and clothing.

Mate rivets can be used as a pivot point. 

A longer grip range makes mate rivets ideal for use as a pivot point, such as for playground equipment. 


Shop Mate Rivets on the Bay Supply Marketplace

When determining if mate rivets are right for the task, consider factors such as rivet materials, whether you need a special coating, and other factors to ensure a lasting joint. Also, be sure about the rivet's grip range so there is no play in the joint. Remember, to install mate rivets, you need access to both sides of the workpiece.

The Bay Supply Marketplace offers a variety of mate rivets from vendors such as Cherry, Avdel, Huck, and other fastener makers. Be sure to sign up for the Bay Supply Marketplace if you haven’t already done so.