6 Types of Rivets That Design Engineers Need to Know About

by | Mar 11, 2022 | Product Design

Are you an engineer looking to turn your product design into a reality, or do you have parts you’re looking to assemble using fasteners? If so, you’d agree that rivets are among the most commonly used fasteners for assembly because of their supreme fastening capabilities for light and heavy-duty applications.

However, there is more to rivets than meets the eye. For instance, there are different types of rivets, with each type having its unique design, benefits, and suitability for different application scenarios.

This article covers six types of rivets commonly used in product design and assembly. By the end of this read, you will have a better idea about to choose the ideal rivet type for your design and manufacturing project.

What is a Rivet?

Man using rivet gun

A rivet is a fastener that features a head (at one end) and a smooth cylindrical shaft (at the other end). The process of installing rivets starts with drilling (or punching) holes into the parts which are to be fastened. Next, the rivet is inserted into the holes before its smaller cylindrical end is deformed through impact. This impact creates a bulk tail (or shop head), which holds the parts together firmly.

The major advantage of rivets is that they are permanent fasteners. This means that they cannot be easily removed once installed. And even if you remove a rivet from a joint successfully, you can be sure that this rivet is left of no use, unlike other fasteners like bolts and screws.

Now let’s take a look at the different types of rivets and their suitability for different application needs.

Understanding Rivet Types: 6 Types of Rivets

#1 Solid Rivets

Solid rivets, also known as round rivets, are the most common types of rivets. They have the most basic construction, featuring a head and tail. They can be easily deformed (and used to fasten parts) using a hammer, rivet, or crimping tool.

Example of solid rivets

You should opt for solid rivets if you’re looking for an affordable and readily available rivet type that offers high strength and reliability. Besides, solid rivets’ simple design makes it easy for anyone to install without using specialty equipment.

#2 Tubular Rivets

Tubular rivets are quite similar to solid rivets. However, unlike solid rivets, tubular rivets come with a hollow end on their other side, as shown in the Figure below.

Types of rivets: tubular rivets

Example of tubular rivets

This unique designㅡwhich features small cross-section areaㅡmakes it possible to utilize little effort in fastening the rivets, resulting in an efficient installation process. For instance, the amount of force required to fasten a tubular rivet is approximately one-quarter that which is needed to fasten a solid rivet.

Tubular rivets are popular in applications like brakes, lighting, HVAC ductwork, electronics, and mechanical products. However, keep in mind that tubular rivets can only be used when you have access to both sides of the parts to be assembled. So, if you’re looking to work with closed structures, you might want to consider using a semi-tubular rivetㅡwhich has a partial hole located at its cylindrical end.

#3 Split Rivets

Split rivets, also referred to as bifurcated rivets, feature sharp ends split into two parts, allowing them to pierce materials.

Types of Rivets: split rivets

Example of split rivets

When installed in parts to be assembled, the split legs of the split rivets bend to hold the parts together. They are ideal for joining soft materials like leather, wood, and plastic, especially in non-critical applications.

#4 Blind Rivets

Blind rivets, also called pop rivets, are a type of tubular rivets with a mandrel through their center. To install them, you’d have to use a special tool to draw the mandrel through the rivet. This causes the rivets’ ends to expand, locking the parts together and generating a popping sound (which is why they are also called pop rivets).

Types of Rivets: Blind Rivets

Example of blind rivets

You should opt for blind rivets if you’re looking to assemble parts where you have no access to the rear (or blind) ends of the joints (for example, doorknobs, nameplates, and woodwork parts). These rivets offer easy installation and eliminate the possibility of under-torque or over-torque common in conventional fasteners.

#5 Drive Rivets

Drive rivets are quite similar to blind rivets: they both feature a mandrel through their center. However, unlike blind rivets, drive rivets do not require any special tool to draw the mandrel through the rivet. Instead, you only need a hammer and possibly a backing block to draw the mandrel into the rivet body and lock parts to be assembled.

Rivet Types: Drive Rivets

Example of drive rivets

Drive rivets are ideal for any application in which the holes do not penetrate the entire panel, metal sheet, or block. For instance, you can use them for holding panels into place or nameplates into blind holes.

#6 Flush Rivets

Flush rivets, also called countersunk rivets, are among the essential rivets used in applications that require excellent appearance and surface finish after assembly. This is because of their unique design, which features both countersunk heads and holes.

Rivet Types: Flush Rivets

Example of flush rivets

Flush rivets’ countersunk heads and holes allow you to connect two parts together, such that the head of the rivet does not protrude above the surface of the metals. It is especially useful in aircraft construction as it helps to reduce aerodynamic drag, increasing aircraft performance.

Manufacturing Different Types of Rivets: Gensun Can Help

Rivets are excellent mechanical fasteners capable of securing complex parts together. However, the success of rivets for a particular application primarily depends on you choosing the ideal rivet material and manufacturer for your product.

Gensun Precision Machining is a leading provider of CNC turning services. Our team of engineers, machinists, and quality control experts works together, ensuring that you get your product done right and on time. If you need to produce rivets by CNC turning, reach out to us.

Learn more about our CNC turning services.

Make Your Machined Parts With Us

Learn about our CNC milling and turning services.

You Might Also Like…
The Basics of Heat Sinks: How Do They Work?

The Basics of Heat Sinks: How Do They Work?

You don’t need to be an MIT graduate to know that electronic devices and machines generate heat when operating. When left unsupervised, this situation can quickly lead to the device overheating, causing it to malfunction. Then, unless you react quickly enough, this...