How to Drive Rivets with a Pneumatic Rivet Gun

Using a pneumatic rivet gun to drive rivets creates an automated fastening process that does not require a lot of energy. As long as the air pressure is adequate, there is no need to worry about making a lot of errors. In addition, the device has a few parts to maintain, making it a very effective fastening equipment.

Tools and Materials

  • Pneumatic rivet gun
  • Air compressor
  • 2 locking pliers
  • Drill
  • 3/16-inch drill bit
  • 3/16-inch pop rivets
  • Safety glasses
  • Metal sheets
  • Wooden block

Step 1 - Inspect the Device for Damage

Ensure that the device is in proper working order before using it. Check the air compressor as well and ensure that it is well oiled, properly working, and free from damage. Keep the air fitting on the gun well lubricated. Use the manufacturer’s recommended air tool oil for this purpose. When ready, attach the air fitting to the air compressor’s air line. Press the rivet gun trigger to allow air discharge to push the oil towards the rubber oil rings within the device. As long as the o-rings are lubricated, the device will work properly.

Step 2 – Prep the Metal Sheets

Wear safety glasses or goggles for protection before working with the gun. Place the metal sheets to be fastened on a working surface such as a table. The sheets should be positioned one on top of the other. Place two locking pliers on opposite sides of the sheets to hold them together. Place a piece of wooden board on the working surface and place the locked sheets onto the piece of wood.

Prepare the drill by adding a 3/16-inch drill bit into it. Determine where to fasten the metal sheets together and drill holes into them carefully.

Step 3 – Install the Pop Rivets

Before working with the device, read the user’s manual to learn how to use it properly. Insert a pop rivet into the pneumatic rivet gun. Stand the metal sheets and slide the rivet into the 3/16-inch hole. When the rivet head is flush with the sheet metal surface, press the trigger on the gun until a pop sound is made. As soon as the rivet is in position, the gun should be free to move. Point the gun towards the ground so that the rivet pin can slide out of it.

Check the back of the metal sheets and see if the back portion of the pop rivet is tightly secured to the metal sheet surface. If the result is too loose or too tight, adjust the gun’s tension according to manufacturer’s instructions. Test the rivet gun again on the metal sheets before proceeding with other sheets.

In some occasions, the rivet pin will get jammed and will not slide out of the device. If this occurs, check the user’s manual to determine how to loosen the set jaws inside the gun. Remove the jammed pin, inspect for damage and service or replace damaged parts before using the device again.