How to repair rivet tools

Written by tom lutzenberger
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How to repair rivet tools
Rivets are typically used to attach metal sheet parts together as surface covers. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

"Rosie the Riveter" worked in a factory during World War II inserting and securing rivets between materials to connect them together. When Rosie ran into a problem on the assembly line, she needed a solution fast to keep production moving on the home front. The situation is repeated in factories today when a rivet tool needs repairing. Knowing how to quickly fix the obstacle or blockage can save time, money and energy -- and production keep up.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Vise-Grip pliers
  • Crescent wrenches
  • Socket wrench and sockets
  • Phone
  • Rivet gun dealer services

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    Fixing a Hand Rivet Gun

  1. 1

    Turn the rivet tool upside down so you can see inside the rivet nose. Confirm if a rivet needle is stuck inside and won't come loose. Use a crescent wrench to remove the nose bit.

  2. 2

    Twist the nose bit off, giving you clearance to get at the jammed rivet needle. Use needle-nose pliers to grab the rivet needle and pull it out. Work the hand lever of the tool to force the needle to move.

  3. 3

    Switch to vice grip pliers if the needle won't release. Apply the pliers on the exposed needle stub. Set the vice handle and squeeze the pliers so they lock on the needle. Hold the tool with one hand and twist the vice pliers with the other until the needle stub comes free.

    Fixing and Automated Rivet Gun

  1. 1

    Check the rivet tip on the tool to confirm it is the right size for the rivets being installed. Check the air pressure if the tool is an air rivet gun to confirm the pressure is sufficient to work properly. Look at the air supply valve to make sure it is positioned to "ON".

  2. 2

    Fix the air pressure to meet 100 psi (pounds per square inch) if the air pressure is too low. Try the tool again to see if it works. Disconnect the tool's air hose if the tool still fails.

  3. 3

    Disconnect the rivet tool's stub collector bin attached to the tool. Clean out any remaining metal bits or pieces of rivet. Disconnect the cleaned out part with a crescent or socket wrench. Expose the silencer component in the collector socket and use a shop rag to clean the silencer parts. Reassemble the stub collector and secure the end cap.

  4. 4

    Check the hydraulic fluid level of the tool if possible. Contact or call by phone your local rivet gun dealer for your brand of tool if fluid needs to be replenished internally.

Tips and warnings

  • Many times the hand tool version just needs to be worked a few times to release the rivet stud out of a jammed location.
  • Never aim the rivet gun at your face when it is still operating or connected to an air hose. Always disconnect automated tools before trying to service them.

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