Learn How to Easily Drill Out Rivets with a Power Drill

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Written By John Gibbs

 

 

 

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Drilling out a rivet can be a tricky task, but with the right tools and a few simple steps it can be easily accomplished. This step-by-step guide to drilling out rivets will show you how to easily remove problematic rivets without damaging the material or the rivet itself. From selecting the right drill bit to cleaning up the hole, you’ll find all the information you need to know to quickly and safely drill out rivets. So, if you’re wondering how to drill out rivets, this guide will be a great resource.

What Are Rivets?

What Are Rivets?

Rivets are small, cylindrical fasteners that are used to join two or more objects together. They are made from metal, such as aluminum, steel, or brass, and are inserted into pre-drilled holes. Rivets are known for their strength and durability, making them a popular choice for many construction projects.

Rivets come in several types, including solid, semi-tubular, and pop rivets. Solid rivets are the most common and are made of a single piece of metal. Semi-tubular rivets are similar to solid rivets, but are hollowed out on one end, making them easier to install. Pop rivets, also known as blind rivets, are the most popular and consist of a mandrel and body. The mandrel is inserted into the body and expands when a tool is applied, securely locking the pieces together.

Pop rivets are ideal for many projects, such as automotive repairs and fabrications, due to their ease of use and superior strength. However, when it comes time to remove them, drilling out the rivets can be difficult. Fortunately, with the right tools and a few simple steps, you can easily drill out pop rivets and remove problematic ones.

How to Remove Rivets Without a Drill

How To Remove Rivets Without A Drill

Step Instructions
1 Heat the rivet head on the surface of the workpiece with a gas torch. Be careful not to overheat the surrounding area.
2 Once the head has become pliable, use a flat-headed screwdriver to pry the rivet out.
3 Once the head has been removed, use a pair of pliers to remove the remaining stem of the rivet.
4 Note: Use safety glasses and gloves when using a gas torch.

Using a gas torch, you can easily remove rivets without the need for a drill. First, heat the rivet head on the surface of the workpiece with a gas torch. Be careful not to overheat the surrounding area. Once the head has become pliable, use a flat-headed screwdriver to pry the rivet out. Once the head has been removed, use a pair of pliers to remove the remaining stem of the rivet. It is important to note that when using a gas torch, safety glasses and gloves should be worn.

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How to Drill Out Metal Rivets

What Size Drill Bit to Use

When drilling out rivets, the size of the drill bit must be carefully chosen. The hole in the rivet should be slightly larger than the diameter of the rivet. A drill bit that is too large may damage the material surrounding the rivet. It is important to use a drill bit that is the correct size for the job.

Step-by-Step Guide to Drilling Out Rivets

First, secure the object containing the rivet in a vise. Next, use a center punch to create a divot at the center of the rivet. This is important because it helps guide the drill bit into the exact center of the rivet. Then, select the appropriate size drill bit and insert it into the drill. Finally, use the drill to drill out the rivet. Apply light pressure and use a slow speed to ensure the drill bit does not slip. Once the rivet is drilled out, use a pair of pliers to remove it.

Drilling out rivets is a straightforward process, but it can be made easier by following the steps outlined above. With the right drill bit and the proper technique, you can easily remove problematic rivets and get the job done quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What type of drill bit should I use to drill out rivets?

To drill out rivets, you will need the right type of drill bit. It is important to choose the correct type of drill bit to ensure a safe and successful rivet removal. Here is a list of the most common drill bits to use when drilling out rivets:

  • Straight Shank Bit – This type of drill bit is the most common and standard bit used for drilling out rivets. It is typically made from high-speed steel, which makes it ideal for drilling through metal.
  • Twist Drill Bit – This type of drill bit is designed with a spiral flute that helps to quickly and efficiently drill out rivets. It is usually made from high-speed steel, which makes it suitable for most types of metals.
  • Countersink Bit – This type of drill bit is designed to countersink the hole in the rivet. It is typically made from high-speed steel, which makes it suitable for drilling out rivets.
  • Flat Bottom Bit – This type of drill bit is designed to create a flat bottom hole in the rivet. It is typically made from high-speed steel, which makes it suitable for drilling out rivets.
  • Hex Shank Bit – This type of drill bit is designed with a hexagonal shank which helps to quickly and efficiently drill out rivets. It is usually made from high-speed steel, which makes it suitable for most types of metals.
  • Masonry Bit – This type of drill bit is designed for drilling into masonry, brick, and concrete. It is usually made from high-speed steel, which makes it suitable for drilling out rivets.

When selecting the type of drill bit, it is important to consider the material of the rivet and the type of drill bit that is best suited for the job. In general, high-speed steel is the best material to use for drilling out rivets.

How do I know when the rivet has been completely drilled out?

Once the drill bit has gone through the head of the rivet, the hole should be wide enough that the shank of the rivet can be pulled out. To confirm that the rivet is completely removed, insert a small screwdriver or a pick into the hole and try to jiggle the rivet. If it moves, it is not completely drilled out and the process should be repeated. If the rivet is still firmly in place, it has been successfully removed.

Is it Safe to Drill Out Rivets on a Finished Product?

Drilling out rivets can compromise the strength and integrity of a finished product, so it should only be done cautiously and as a last resort. Before attempting to drill out a rivet, it is important to first assess the risk involved. If the rivet is located in an area that is critical for structural stability or safety, it is best to leave it in place and find an alternative solution. If it is necessary to drill out a rivet, take extra precautions by using the correct drill bit, drilling at the correct speed, and wearing protective equipment.

How can I avoid damaging the material around the rivet?

To avoid any potential damage to the surrounding material, it is important to use the right size of drill bit. If the drill bit is too large, it could crack or chip the material. A drill bit that is too small may not effectively drill out the rivet. Additionally, keep the drill speed slow and steady and apply light pressure. With the correct drill bit and technique, you can easily drill out rivets without damaging the material.

What Safety Precautions Should I Take When Drilling Out Rivets?

Wear protective equipment: Always wear safety goggles, gloves and a dust mask when drilling into metal. Wear steel-toed boots when operating heavy machinery.

Secure the workpiece: Ensure the workpiece is firmly clamped down and won’t move during the drilling process.

Check the area: Make sure the area where you’re drilling is clear of any obstructions and that the drill bit has clear access to the rivet.

Keep the drill bit straight: Make sure the drill bit remains perpendicular to the surface of the rivet at all times.

Set the drill speed: Adjust the drill speed to suit the material you’re drilling. If the drill bit starts to smoke, reduce the speed.

Keep the drill bit cool: Always keep the drill bit cool by periodically dipping it into a container of coolant or lubricant.

Conclusion

Drilling out rivets is a useful skill to know and can be done easily with the right tools. With patience, the right approach, and the proper tools, you can quickly remove any problematic rivets. Be sure to have the right safety gear to protect you from any debris created during the process.

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About John Gibbs

Hello everyone! My name is John Gibbs. I am 60 years old and have been in the family construction business all my adult life. Construction is not only my profession but also my passion. I know everything about building and repair materials, tools, advanced methods, techniques, and approaches. I will share the same knowledge with you in my articles.

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