Riveting w/ SS rivets

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EOsteam
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Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by EOsteam » Fri Apr 10, 2015 12:43 am

]I have riveted tons of Aluminum aircraft rivets but this was my first attempt w/ steel. 18-8 Stainless steel 1/8" in diameter to be exact. I had to join the brass top leaf end pivots to the top leaf for the lead truck springs. The spring leaf was provided by Little Engines and had a countersink on one side of the leaf. I have always used a rivet gun on the manufactured head of the rivet and a bucking bar to form the shop head. I had no way to make that work in this case so this is how I accomplished the task.

The plan was to use the rivet gun to form the shop head of the rivet. The rivet was trimmed to approx. 1/16" above the leaf. I used a clevis pin in the leaf end pivot for the flat head end of the rivet to contact while the shop head was being formed with the rivet gun. I used a 3X aircraft rivet gun with a teasing trigger to apply 5 or 6 slow hits to start the forming of the shop head.
IMG_3238.jpg
Shop head of the Rivet after about 5 hits
IMG_3240.jpg
General Arrangement for forming the shop head of the rivet
I was worried about work hardening of the SS but anything more than slow hits was uncontrollable. I have a smiley face on the other spring leaf as evidence of that screw up.

The rivet was then hit about 20 to 30 more times to completely fill the countersink. The shop head was a bit proud of the countersink and needs to be flush so I used a heatless stone in the dremel to remove the excess shop head. After that was done the rivet gun was used one more time to burnish the shop head.
IMG_3245.jpg
Heatless stone on the dremel
IMG_3243.jpg
Finished shop head of the rivet in the countersink
My only caution to others is to if at all possible use an aircraft rivet gun. The cheap chisel type air tools will hit too fast and too light to form stainless steel. They will also be uncontrollable. I learned this lesson years ago while riveting hardened aluminum rivets and purchased a proper aircraft rivet gun. I also picked the mind of an aircraft mechanic friend to avoid the big mistakes I am perfectly capable of making.

This may or may not be the correct way to accomplish the task but it appears to have worked this time.
As an aside, whenever I accomplish something new to me I usually show my wife the part and she always pretends to be interested even though she could probably care less. Lesson #1: Marry correctly as this decision will affect your happiness or lack thereof.
Last edited by EOsteam on Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Harold_V
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by Harold_V » Fri Apr 10, 2015 3:47 am

EOsteam wrote: After that was done the rivet gun was used one more time to burnish the shop head.
Well done! Looks great.
I had a very bad experience with stainless rivets, although many years ago. The fear of work hardening is right on the money.
even thought she could probably care less.
You're fortunate to have one who could care less. Some of them couldn't. :wink:

Harold
Wise people talk because they have something to say. Fools talk because they have to say something.

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Sandiapaul
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by Sandiapaul » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:22 am

What is a "heatless stone"? A non woven type abrasive? It kind of looks like that. Oh and nice job on the rivets!

hudson
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by hudson » Fri Apr 10, 2015 6:36 am

heatless stones are used in dentistry to
grind acrylics as well as metals.

hudson

EOsteam
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by EOsteam » Sat Apr 11, 2015 6:37 pm

Yes, heatless stones are used in dentistry. They work especially well for metals. I have never tried them on acrylics. They don't have any fiber reinforcement in them and are more like a miniature grinding wheel. Mine are used in a dremel type tool and they like some pretty good speed on them. The name is a bit of a misnomer since they will produce a bit of heat but not as bad as other disks I have experimented with. I'm sure if you have a good relationship with your dentist they would order some stones for you from their supplier. You will also need to get some mandrels at the same time. I don't remember how expensive they are so if you are interested you might want to get a quote first. Some dental items have a very surprising gotcha factor associated with their price tags.

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Fender
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by Fender » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:40 pm

I did a project (ashpan) with stainless steel sheet, but used copper rivets to fasten it together. I was concerned that the ss rivets would be difficult to form. How do ss rivets compare to copper or soft steel rivets in this respect?
Dan Watson

EOsteam
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by EOsteam » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:25 pm

I've only used the hardened (structural) and non hardened (non structural) aluminum aircraft rivets and now the 18-8 stainless rivets. I'm sure the copper would form pretty easy with my rivet gun but copper is subject to work hardening as well. The stainless wasn't that difficult but I was using 100 psi and a 3X rivet gun. I would much prefer to use a bucking bar on the shop head and the rivet gun on the manufactured head but that wouldn't have worked in this case. If you hit it too many times the stainless will work harden which it was doing when I finished. The shop head didn't form much after the first 10 to 15 hits. The first five hits are the most critical. These were 1/8" rivets and if I were going to be riveting stainless steel sheets with SS rivets I would use 3/32" or smaller if you can get them.

I'm sure there is someone out there with much more experience than I who could comment further.

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johnpenn74
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by johnpenn74 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 11:18 am

EOsteam,
I would recommend a heavier gun. I have a 4X and a 7X (both from us air tool supply) The 4X does great on steel 1/8 and 3/16 (but I use the 7x now for those larger ones). The bigger guns can be cycled slower cause they push a heavier ram. I also threw away the fitting and added a in line regulator. Turn it up to 125 the gun mfgs spec.

JP
Attachments
new rib.JPG
Some rivet work I did on larrys gondola.
John Pennington

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EOsteam
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by EOsteam » Sun Apr 12, 2015 1:29 pm

JP,

Would you use the 4X on 1/8" steel rivets or would you go to the 7X? Also, how large would you go with the 7X on steel?

HJ

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johnpenn74
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by johnpenn74 » Sun Apr 12, 2015 8:34 pm

I use the 4x on 1/8 steel rivets and have also used it on 3/16 on a few occasions. Its doable but I had to turn the pressure way up to like 150 lbs. Which is a little beyond the rating of the gun. I wasn't a big deal since I only had to run 24 of them. Still though, I don't want to tear the tool up. Hence, I bought the other 7x gun for running 3/16 rivets.

The 4x does fine on 1/8 steel.

I was a little surprised to see you using Stainless. Why not just use steel?

JP
John Pennington

Logging meets that actually move logs

Project
2 Mich-Cal Shays
Allen 4-4-0 Narrow Gauge Conversion
Two Reading A5a Camelback 0-4-0
USRA 0-6-0
Clishay
4 Western Wheeled Scraper NG Dump Cars
N&W 4-8-2
ICM 2-10-2
4 Modern Stake Cars
L&N Caboose
4 Big Four Conversion Gondolas

Like I'm actually gonna build all this stuff :-P

EOsteam
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by EOsteam » Mon Apr 13, 2015 1:17 am

Actually, it was simply expediency. I had an order that was going in to MSC (I think) and they didn't have flat head countersink rivets in 1/8" steel but they did in SS. I source aluminum aircraft rivets from Aircraft Spruce. Is there a better source for steel rivets than MSC?

Asteamhead
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Re: Riveting w/ SS rivets

Post by Asteamhead » Mon Apr 13, 2015 3:01 am

EOsteam,
Riviting ss rivets will mostly deform the (softer) parts which are to be connected.
Thus I prefer to just melting down the head down from the overlaping shaft by means of a TIG welder.
If you are acting fast you may forming the head (still warm then) by a tool. Very easy method!

Asteamhead
Attachments
A smokebox right side.JPGred.jpg
Rivets of dia 1/10 " were used as 'dummy' rivets around the smoke box connection.
Inside shafts were melted by TIG and hammered down to form and fasten the rivets. No damage to the smokebox!

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