Authored by Wes Vann
Pop Rivets and pop rivet guns;
Pop rivets enable you to attach two items together without having access to the back side of the item. For this reason, they are sometimes called "blind rivets".
They come in all sorts of lengths and diameters. In some automotive applications, they use a rivet with a large shoulder, and these can be found at some automotive paint supply stores. Most rivets are aluminum, but it's possible to also get steel rivets.
A pop rivet has a center pin that the pop rivet gun grabs hold of and tries to pull through the rivet body. As this is done, the head on the center pin deforms the body and crimps it tight. When done, the center pin breaks off. In the photo above, the rivet on the left has just been placed through the piece of steel. The rivet in the center has been installed and crimped from the under side of the steel. The pop rivet gun is set on the rivet at the right and is ready to crimp.
When using pop rivets, the rivet should be a snug fit in the hole through the material. The length of the rivet should be such that before crimping, it's sticking out the blind side about 1/4". If using rivets on soft material, you should use a washer on the blind side to spread out the load (there are special washers for this).
A "cleco" is a temporary clamp that can be used where you are planning on installing a pop rivet. They are real common in the aircraft industry. (I know that Year One lists them in their catalog)
The photo above shows an installed cleco and one with the tool in place (the reason for the rubber band is just so that I could take the photo).
In using a cleco, the tool releases the fingers on the blind side. When the fingers are released, the cleco can be removed. They can be used over again and again.
90 Degree drills;
There are times when you just can't get a drill motor in where you have to drill a hole. A "90 degree drill" is an adapter that you can put on your drill motor (shown is a rechargeable variable speed Black and Decker).
By using a short drill bit, with this set-up I could drill in a cavity that is only 5" deep.
It's kind of weird to use this set-up due to the fact that the adapter has to be held from moving around while drilling.
The adapter shown in the photo above has a standard chuck to hold the drill bit. There are also adapters that don't have a chuck and you have to use special drill bits that screw into the adapter. By using one of these, you could fit into an even smaller area.