What is a POP Rivet and How Does It Work?

Although the name “pop” is widely used as a generic term for blind rivets, it started out as a brand name for a specific style of rivet. That’s the story behind the name. Now let’s take a closer look at what pop rivets are actually for.

What is a POP Rivet?

Pop rivets, also known as blind rivets, are a type of rivets. They are used in applications where there is limited or no access to the rear side (blindside) of the parts to be joined.

Pop rivets are a special type of blind rivet designed to be installed from one side of a joint, making them extremely valuable for fabrication and assembly applications where you cannot access both sides of the workpiece.

Pop rivets are a relatively simple design consisting of a shank that is inserted into a pre-drilled hole and a mandrel that fits through the shank.

To install the rivet, the mandrel is pulled out with a blind riveting tool, which compresses the shank on the blind side of the workpiece, pulling the material together.

Once the joint is complete, the mandrel is snapped off at a pre-set nick for a clean finish. These rivets are called “pop rivets” because of the sound you hear when the mandrel breaks off.

Installation is usually completed with a single, gentle pulling motion, but the force required for installation depends on the size of the rivet and its application. For simple repairs or if you just need to add a few rivets, you can use a manual pop rivets tool.

For heavy applications such as manufacturing or construction, you should use a pneumatic or electric pop riveting tool that provides more pulling force.

POP Rivet

How Do POP Rivet Work?

Pop rivets consist of two parts. The first part is called the rivet body (also called the shell or hat) and the second part is called the mandrel (also called the stem).

In situations where access to either side of a component is restricted, a hole is first drilled through the parts to be joined. A pop rivet is then inserted through the drilled hole and the rivet body is brought into contact with the parts.

A rivet gun is placed on the rivet and pulls the mandrel into the rivet body, causing it to expand and hold the parts to be joined. Once gripped, the mandrel snaps and holds the rivet permanently in place. This results in a localized connection.

parts of a blind rivet

Parts Of A Blind Rivet
  1. Rivet pin: The pin is the main body of the rivet which will slot through the pieces of material being joined together.            
  2. Rivethead: The head will sit on the outside of the material to stop the rivet from sliding out of the material.
  3. Rivet mandrel: The mandrel is slotted into the rivet gun when it is fastened. The rivet gun pulls the mandrel partially through the pin (body) of the rivet, deforms the pin to form a second head, and then snaps the mandrel off.
  4. Rivet mandrel head: The mandrel head expands the body of the rivet then leaves itself buried inside the rivet, creating a second head to secure and fasten the pieces being joined.

types of blind rivets

A blind rivet, sometimes called a pop rivet, has a hollow cylindrical pin (body) that is attached to the head. A mandrel, a long, narrow pin with a head, goes through the recess of the body, with the head serving as a stop at the opposite end of the body to the rivet head.

Blind rivets are available with different types of bodies and heads. They are made from different materials.

#1. Standard Blind Rivets.

Standard blind rivets are typically used to secure metal to metal. They have domed heads and simple bodies.

If you pull the mandrel partially through the rivet body, the body will expand at its “blind” end, creating a second head that can be used to permanently join the materials together.

Standard rivets are used in a number of industries including automotive, construction, metals, electrical appliances, containers, furniture, air conditioning, and heating.

#2. Sealed Blind Rivets.

This type of blind rivet comes with a sealed end. The mandrel head does not protrude from the end of the rivet like the other types of blind rivets included in the sealed body.

Sealed rivets do not allow liquids to penetrate or leak and are used to secure metal to metal.

The head of the mandrel sits in the body of the rivet while the head of the rivet is sealed. This prevents liquid from entering or exiting the component. They are suitable for use in the automotive, construction, and metal industries.

They can also be used in electrical appliances, containers, furniture, and air conditioning and heating systems.

#3. Peeled Blind Rivets.

Peeled rivets provide a locking head with a larger diameter, providing them with a greater bearing surface (underside of head).

As the mandrel is drawn through, the body expands, leaving the head in the shape of a flower with four petals. This type of rivet is best suited to fastening metal to softer materials.

The sides (petals) of the rivet fold over, creating a head to fasten the materials together.

Peeled rivets are ideal for use in the automotive industry, construction work (plasterboard, coatings, and insulation) and can be used on trailers, plastic components, electrical appliances, and upholstery (padded covering on furniture).

#4. Grooved Blind Rivets.

This type of rivet has grooves around the body that give the rivet excellent gripping strength when installing softer materials such as plastic and wood.

Grooved rivets are perfect for securing metal to wood and metal to building materials such as cement, brick, and wood.

The grooves on the rivet body are embedded in the material and hold it together almost like a screw. The hole it goes into doesn’t have to be right through the material.

The tail of a grooved rivet will expand inside the material as the mandrel is withdrawn, rather than forming a new head on the other side of the material.

The rivet grips the material with friction and not with a second head, while the head at the other end grips the object that is connected to the material.

Grooved rivets are best for construction, metalworking, and furniture manufacturing, as well as electrical equipment and injection, molded parts.

#5. Multi-Grip Blind Rivets.

Multi-grip rivets are similar to standard rivets but have indents located on the rivet body. The indents expand and provide multiple grips when the mandrel is pulled through the body. These rivets are for fastening metal to plastic and plastic to plastic.

The multiple grips on the body of the rivet are forced against the material being riveted as the mandrel is pulled through.

Multi-grip rivets are suitable for use in the automotive, construction, and metal industries, and in electrical appliances, furniture, electronics, ladder manufacturing, and air conditioning and heating.

#6. Soft Set Blind Rivets.

Soft rivets are identical to standard rivets. However, the body and mandrel are manufactured from a softer metal, which tends to be an aluminum alloy.

The mandrel breaks off with much less force than other types of rivets so it applies the right amount of pressure to fasten brittle materials without them becoming damaged.

These rivets are for use when fastening metal to plastic, metal to wood, metal to fiberglass, plastic to plastic, and metal or plastic to soft materials with low resistance.

The soft rivets can be used in furniture, packaging, plastic components, containers, plastic, and construction work.

#7. Blind Rivets Heads.

As well as being available in a number of body designs, blind rivets can also have different types of heads.

#8. Dome Head Blind Rivets.

The dome head provides enough bearing surface for it to be used to fasten a variety of materials, except extremely smooth and brittle materials such as plastic.

This is because this type of head applies more pressure closer to the hole that has been drilled which can damage softer materials.

The bearing surface is the contact between two materials. In this case, it is the area under the head of the rivet which makes contact with the material being fastened.

#9. Large Head Blind Rivets.

The large head offers double the bearing area of a dome head rivet. This provides great resistance and is ideal for fastening brittle or soft materials to rigid support materials.

#10. Countersunk Head Blind Rivets.

A countersunk head fits into the material without the head protruding, keeping a flat surface.

Applications of Blind Rivets

They are used to make high-strength joints in a range of materials, including metals, plastics, wood, and leather. Typically, the process is used for joining plastic or sheet metal.

To enable pop rivets to meet the requirements of a wide variety of applications, they are available in many materials, including Steel, Stainless steel, Monel, Copper, Aluminium.

Uses for Blind Rivets:

  • Building or Home Applications.
  • Attaching Nameplates and Signs.
  • Fastening Wall or Ceiling Decorations.
  • Attaching Hinges.
  • Attaching Door Knobs, Drawer Pulls, and Handles.
  • Woodworking Applications.
  • Industrial Applications.

Advantages of Pop Rivet

  • Being cost-effective
  • Allowing for joining of parts when there is limited rear access
  • Being durable
  • Being lighter than bolts/screws (dependent on rivet material)

Disadvantages of Pop Rivet

  • Being difficult to remove once placed
  • Protruding from the sheet metal surface, potentially creating a hazard and reducing aerodynamics
  • Potential corrosion issues if the rivet material differs from the metal parts to be joined

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