Rivets join materials together by deforming as the mandrel is pulled through the rivet body. They are useful when you do not have access to both sides of the materials to be joined. The low-profile head creates a neat and orderly appearance.
Standard rivets may be marketed as “blind” rivets, “pop” rivets, and “open-end” rivets.
Shear strength is the amount of force it takes to break a rivet from the side, while tensile strength is the amount of pull a rivet can withstand without breaking
The body is the main part of the rivet, which deforms when the pin (called a “mandrel”) is pulled through by the tool. Rivets are held in place by the head (generally resembling a button).
To use, rivets require a specialized tool. Though hand-powered variants exist, teams that extensively use rivets often invest in a pneumatic rivet tool (“rivet gun”) since they are much faster and easier to use. Rivet tools pull the mandrel through the rivet, deforming the body and braking off the excess mandrel. This secures the materials together between the body and the head.
Rivets come in many sizes, and are mainly catagorized by body diameter and length. They are designed to be effective for a certain (small) variety of material thicknesses, meaning that you may need to use a different rivet when joining 1/8” total of material than you would with 1/4”.
The strength of the joint is affected by the space between the rivets, their distance from the edge of the work, and hole size.
Rivnuts, also known as rivet nuts or blind inserts, are useful to secure a threaded piece (such as a bolt) into a thin sheet of material. They can be installed when you have access to only one side of the material, and require a specialized rivet nut tool.
Similarly to standard rivets, rivnuts are secured in a pre-drilled hole with a specialized tool that collapses the nut, creating a backside flange that holds the nut to the material. However, rivnuts are designed for use in a single layer of material rather than for holding two layers together, and are internally threaded.
Rivnut length is measured from under the flange. “Installed length” is the maximum length of the barrel when installed.