Uses for Rivets in CNC Machining(manufacturing parts Eleanore)

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Rivets play an important role in CNC machining and manufacturing. A rivet is a mechanical fastener that is used to join multiple workpieces together. Rivets come in a variety of head shapes, sizes and materials to accommodate different applications. Understanding the uses for rivets in CNC can help manufacturers select the right rivet type and optimize riveting operations.
Common Uses for Rivets in CNC
Some of the most common uses for rivets in CNC include:
- Joining sheet metal – Rivets are commonly used to join thin sheets of metal together in applications like ductwork, enclosures, aircraft fuselages and more. The rivet holes can be precision drilled using CNC machining for accurate alignment.
- Attaching hardware – Rivets provide a secure way to attach hinges, brackets, handles and other hardware to products manufactured using CNC processes. The rivets keep the hardware firmly fixed in place.
- Assembling frames – Bicycles, furniture and other products with tubular frames often use rivets to connect the frame members together at the joints. CNC allows the rivet holes to be positioned exactly where needed.
- Fastening panels – Rivets installed with specialty CNC-controlled riveting tools can attach panels like those found on machinery, shelving, storage cabinets, electronic enclosures and more. Automated riveting saves time and cost.
- Joining dissimilar materials – Riveting can join materials like metal to plastic that cannot be welded together. Precision CNC machining ensures the holes in each material align correctly.
- Securing non-structural components – Small safety shields, nameplates, guards and other components can be quickly attached to products using a few rivets inserted with automated equipment.
- Repair and maintenance – Rivets offer a quick way to repair broken or cracked parts on machinery, aircraft and other equipment. Holes can be drilled using CNC for rivet placement as needed.
Benefits of Using Rivets
Rivets offer unique benefits that make them a popular choice for joining materials in CNC manufacturing:
- They can be installed quickly and economically compared to other fastening methods. No special skills are required.
- Rivets form a permanent connection that rarely loosens even under shock and vibration.
- Installation only requires access from one side of a workpiece.
- Rivets distribute load stresses uniformly over the joint area.
- The materials being joined do not need to be weldable or compatible for adhesives.
- Minimal equipment is needed for riveting – just a riveting gun and bucking bar.
- Riveted joints maintain integrity even when exposed to high temperatures.
- They can join dissimilar thickness materials effectively.
- There is no heat affected zone like with welding.
- Rivet strength is very consistent and predictable.
- Installation can often be automated for speed and consistency.
CNC Machining for Rivet Holes
For optimal rivet joint strength, the holes must align precisely between workpieces. CNC machining is ideal for drilling and positioning the holes accurately in consistent locations time after time.
Fixture plates can be machined to provide jigs that locate the workpieces in the correct orientation under the machine tool spindle. With tight fixturing, hole alignment between workpieces or along a part can be held to tolerances of 0.001” or less.
CNC hole drilling also allows manufacturers to control hole size and geometry so the rivet properly fills the hole. Programmed peck drilling cycles produce clean, consistent hole sizes in materials like stacked sheet metal. Depth stops can control hole depth, which is important for fatigue life and preventing damage to backside surfaces.
Other CNC operations like tapping, countersinking and counterboring can further prepare holes for optimal rivet seating and head formation. With CNC, all these processes can be automated for repetitive riveting applications.
Rivet Styles for CNC Applications
The most common styles of rivets suitable for CNC machining and installation include:
Blind Rivets – Also called pop rivets, these feature a mandrel that is pulled to deform the rivet sleeve and form the second head. Blind rivets are quickly installed from one side.
Solid Rivets – These are a single piece rivet that requires access to both sides of the workpiece to form the second head using a riveting gun against a bucking bar.
Self-Plugging Rivets – Similar to blind rivets, these form the second head when setting the rivet. The mandrel snaps off and leaves a closed hole after installation.
Drive Rivets – These unique rivets utilize a tiny built-in hammer head that is activated by the riveting tool to peen its own driven head without needing access behind the workpiece.
Flush Rivets – The head fits entirely within the hole for a smooth, flush finish. Typically used with softer materials like plastics.
Custom Rivet Fabrication
Many CNC shops offer custom rivet fabrication services to produce special rivets for unique applications. Typical customization options include:
- Material – Choice of aluminum, steel, stainless steel, copper, brass, Monel and more
- Head shape – Round, countersunk, flush and other head styles
- Head height and diameter – Varying head dimensions
- Shaft length and diameter – For specific grip lengths and hole fits
- Coatings – Colored finishes or anti-corrosion coatings
Whether using standard off-the-shelf rivets or having custom fasteners made, CNC machining is key to optimizing the riveting process and achieving strong, precise joints in manufacturing. The consistency and accuracy of CNC hole drilling improves quality and reduces rework compared to manual processes when riveting multiple components. Understanding the various uses for rivets helps manufacturers select the best options for their specific application requirements. CNC Milling CNC Machining