How to Use a Manual Pop Rivet Tool

Lead Image
What You'll Need
Sheets of drilled metal
Self-locking pliers
Manual pop rivet gun
Safety gloves and glasses

There are two kinds of pop rivet tools in popular use - the pneumatic pop rivet tool, and the manual gun. The former uses compressed air to squeeze the rivet pin into the right position, while the latter uses a handle to perform the same job. The rivets in both cases are the same, a small nail-like rivet with a pin shaped bottom, which is the device that seals the rivet onto the metal. Pneumatic rivet guns are used in large industry from auto manufacturing to the airline industry, while manual pop rivet guns tend to be used by the amateur market, as pop rivets are more suitable for holding light metals together. If you have not operated a pop rivet tool before, then here are a few simple tips which can help you to manage this new device.

Step 1 - Prepare

Before you do anything else, you should put on your safety gloves and glasses. Rivets are made of light metal, and can sometimes break, so it is a good idea to be fully protected. Next, lay out the sheets of metal. These can be ready-drilled, or you can make small holes in them using a drill. Put two sheets of metal side-by-side and overlap holes so that you can fit the rivet.

Step 2 - Load the Rivet


Take your rivet in one hand, and with the other press the trigger, so the holding arms are open. Push the metal rivet into the tool as far as possible, so that the rivet is resting on a chuck at the back of the gun. Your rivet should have the pin facing towards the back of the gun, with the head extended between the teeth. Release the trigger so that the rivet is held in place.

Step 3 - Install the Rivet

Push the head of the rivet through the holes in the sheets of metal. Make sure that the rivet comes through both sheets of metal at once (you may wish to look underneath and check), and is not impeded. Push down, and pull the handle of the rivet gun until you feel resistance. Release the handle, and ensure that the tool is tight to the top of the rivet, and then pull the handle again. Repeat until you hear a popping noise from the end of the gun. This is the breaking of the pin, and indicates that the rivet is secured to the metal sheets.

Step 4 - Finish

Once the pin has broken, the manual pop rivet gun will pull free of the rivet and hole. You can then turn the tool around, and watch it spit out the pin. You can then fit another pop rivet in exactly the same way, or you can choose to smooth down your rivet, in order to get rid of any sharp edges caused when the pin broke away. Check that the sheets of metal are joined, and that the rivet is secure, and then try again on another part of the sheet.