How to Use a Pop Rivet Gun

Rivet gun and rivets
  • 1-100 hours
  • Beginner
  • 0-100
What You'll Need
Pop Rivet gun
Sheets of metal
Safety goggles

The pop rivet gun is used in a number of industries, including auto repair, mobile home repair, or flashing work. The rivet is a particular advance on the nail, and is used to secure pieces of metals together. Pop rivets, named after the sound they make when they are fastened, are one of the lesser rivets, being used for light metals such as tin and aluminum. These rivets are round in shape, and have a small pin-like shape at the bottom, which is used to seal the rivet. If you are unsure about how to use a pop rivet gun, here are some simple rules to follow that should help you to get the job done.

Step 1 - Prepare

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The first thing to do is to put on your safety glasses. You may also wish to use gloves in order to protect your hands. Once you are fully protected, use a drill to make holes in two sheets of metal, or use sheets with holes already pierced. Lay the metal sheets so they have overlapping holes, and are laying together as you would want. You may wish to fasten the metal together in some fashion, such as tape, or some self-locking pliers.

Step 2 - Add the Rivet

Take a rivet and place it into the pop rivet tool with the pin shape towards the tool. Let the round head of the rivet rest against the holding edge of the rivet tool. Apply a gentle pressure to the handle of the tool, in order to keep the rivet in place, and then push the top of the rivet through both sheets of metal. Make sure it goes through both sides (you may wish to look and check the first couple of times), and there is nothing impeding the rivet.

Step 3 - Close the Rivet

Now you have the rivet in position, apply pressure downwards onto the sheets of metal while pulling hard on the handle of the tool. Let the handle go, and make sure that the rivet gun is right next to the head of the rivet. Pull the handle again, and repeat until the pop rivet makes a loud popping noise, and pulls away from the rivet. What should happen is that the gun will force the pin shape through the rivet, and out towards the head, while both top and bottom of the rivet expand, thereby preventing them from passing back through the holes they were pushed into. The pop rivet gun will push the pin right through until there is a slight popping sound, which means that the pin has broken off, and the rivet is sealed.

Step 4 - Finish

Finish off the task by turning the pop rivet gun over, and watching it shoot the pin out of the head of the tool. You can then install another pop rivet and have another go, or you can smooth down the ends of your new rivet with a piece of sandpaper, in order to remove the sharp edge where the pin broke away.

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