In 1934, an aircraft manufacturer approached the George Tucker Eyelet Company with a challenge: Could it design a rivet that could be set from one side, particularly if there was no access to the other side of the material? The company was up to the challenge and developed the first pop rivet—so named because of the popping sound made during installation.
More than 80 years later, pop rivets are standard in a tremendous range of applications, projects, and industries. Also known as blind rivets (and if they are coming from the Stanley brand, POP® rivets), pop rivets offer versatility, strength, and ease of use. That said, correctly sizing pop rivets is crucial to the success of the application. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a size for your rivets:
Diameter and Hole Size
Diameter is a critical consideration when choosing the proper pop rivet for your application. A rivet that’s too narrow for its hole can leave a gap, which can increase shear stress or cause installation problems; also, the blind head could expand in the space between the two workpieces. If a rivet is too wide for its hole, it will be harder to place and result in a poor fit. Carefully measure hole sizes, and never force a pop rivet into anyplace that doesn’t match its diameter.
Body length is the total length of the pop rivet (not including the head). It differs from grip range (which will be explained next), but is an important measurement when considering clearance on the blind side of the material being fastened—a rivet that’s too long may not properly fit or could negatively impact whatever resides behind the hole.
Grip range is the thickness of material that a rivet can effectively fasten. If, for example, you are attaching two quarter-inch pieces of metal together, you will require a pop rivet with a minimum grip of at least a half-inch. When considering grip range, best practice dictates a rivet that isn’t directly on the minimum or maximum points, but rather, comfortably in-between. This ensures shear and tensile strength and improves the longevity of the setting tool.
Flat head pop rivets are flush with the material being fastened. The heads of dome rivets reside above the material, and large flange rivets take the concept further by covering more area and providing extra fastening capabilities. Paying attention to head size helps with determining integrity, protrusion, and aesthetic value.
The Right Rivet for the Job
Determining the correct size of pop rivets for the job is a step that cannot be overlooked, but equally important is picking the right rivet style for your application. Some common types include:
Closed end rivets: These pop rivets come in two pieces and offer great versatility, strong vibration resistance, and clean installations.
Open end rivets: Also called nail rivets, open-end rivets differ from their closed-end counterparts by not offering a prevention seal against liquid or vapor escape.
Micro rivets: With a diameter of 2 millimeters or smaller, micro rivets are perfect for small applications such as printed circuit boards and other electronic applications.
Multi-grip rivets: This option provides a wider grip range than standard pop rivets and can accommodate oversized and irregular-sized holes.
Correctly assessing size and type of pop rivet, along with the material the rivet is made of, maximizes the success of your application and ensures the rivet can endure the rigors of long-term use.
- Invented in 1934, pop rivets give users to ability to place a rivet from one side of the material.
- Hole size, body length, grip range, and head size must be properly measured to determine the proper size for pop rivets.
- Pop rivets come in many styles, including closed-end, open-end, micro, and multi-grip.