Making copper rivets.


Old 08-01-05, 07:39 PM
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Making copper rivets.

Hey, i need some advice making copper rivets. Ive got copper rod and ive tried heating the end using a propane torch and banging the end with a metal working hammer to make a head, but all my efforts have been useless.

I think i know what i need to do, but i dont have the right equipment.

I need to heat the tips red hot, then bang them into the desired shape - a head large enough to hold it in place. Does this sound like the correct method?

Keep in mind i cant sacrifice the strength of the copper to much, as it will be holding the rudder of a 42 ft sloop in place.

What kind of torch or equipment do i need to make this?

BTW, i have a sheet of stainless steel that i drilled to the desired shape of the rivet head - i hope this is alright.

Old 08-01-05, 08:22 PM
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hi catalyst,
i have never MADE any rivets, but heres my views anyway.
first here are some questions: what size rivets are you talking about (small 1/8" or big 3/8 or 1/2");are there a few rivets holding this or an array of hundreds; is there some particular reason you have to MAKE the rivets? theres about a dozen places on the net that have most sizes of copper rivets in stock, why not just buy them;why do you need to use rivets, there are many other forms of fasteners much simpler and economical to install without special anvil sets, heating and impact tools ( did u say this was on a rudder? i would imagine that your talking about some possibly major structural forces in a worst case scenario (storms, impact, etc) ... are u using rivets because of tradition, sentiment, reliability reasons because of vibration, ?????
You could probably machine the rivets, but i think installing them may be a bigger issue than making them.
Old 08-01-05, 09:10 PM
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Thanks for the reply!

There are two rivets, the size of the copper rod is 5/16.. i dont think buying will be an option because it is still a somewhat custom fit even considering the generic sizing- i dont know, maybe buying is an option.

The head of the rivet has to be a certain size, and must be flush with the rudder on both sides. The side that is not pounded to a head out side of the boat must be pounded flat while inserted in the rudder.

Would this even be considered a rivet? im not sure of the actual definition of a 'rivet'. It would be more of a pin.

Tradition is also considered here, as the boat was made in 1954 and has always used a rivet to hold the rudder in place. I suppose a bolt could be used, but drag is also a factor as this boat is raced ALOT. No matter how insignificant this drag is it would still bother me, LOL, im just like that.

Also, i think ive misled you with the previous post, this doesnt actually hold the rudder to the boat, there are two large pins that do that, the rivets help to hold the peice of hardware that one rudder pin goes through in place.

Old 08-05-05, 09:12 PM
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How is your project comming? Have you considered maching them out of a big hunk of copper rod (or having them machined)? or just buying them (but i guess theres really no fun in that). I was thinking about your application today, is the rudder wood, with a stainless plate on each side? ..... Properly countersunk phillips flathead 316 stainless machine screws can look quite 'sassy' also, and with less drag than big ole copper rivets slowing ya down!

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