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Tech Article #10 - How To Measure a Rivet

by Kevin Smith

 One of the most common questions we hear around here is, ”How do you measure a rivet?” Most people are misinformed about rivet sizes.

 

To get real technical I’ll explain the numbers on rivet sizes and what they mean. As far as I know the numbers are used industry wide but the letter prefix and suffix differ so we’ll just be explaining the numbers.

 

First, a rivet with a part number of ABA42, the 4 represents how many 1/32” of diameter the rivet is, 4/32” is the same as 1/8”. Therefore, the diameter of this particular rivet is 1/8”.

 

Next, the 2 represents how many 1/16” of grip range. In this case the rivet has 2/16” grip range, which is the same as 1/8”. That gives this particular rivet 1/8” grip range.

 

So, we can say the rivet with part number ABA42 has a 1/8” diameter with a 1/8” grip range.

 

The same method can be applied to other rivets as well. Take a rivet with part number ABA68, 6/32” or 3/16” is the diameter and 8/16” or ½” is the grip range. Therefore, the rivet with part number ABA68 is a 3/16” X ½” rivet.

 

Let’s say you have a rivet but no number to figure out what size it is. First, measure the diameter of the rivet itself with a dial caliper. Then, just like measuring a bolt, measure from the underside of the rivet head to the end of the rivet. (CAREFUL!! Make sure you don’t measure to the end of the nail or mandrel that goes through the rivet!) Say it measures ½” long, one of the most common mistakes is you think if you order a rivet with ½” grip you’ll get the same rivet…WRONG!! The grip range is not the same as the length. The rivet must expand or swell out on the backside in order to hold the riveted panel together. One rule of thumb is a rivets grip is about 1/8” shorter than its measured length. This particular rivet measuring ½” long would actually have grip range of 3/8”. Hopefully this is a helpful explanation of how to measure a rivet and has not confused anyone!! Send any questions to Kevin at the help forum. More tech tips will be available soon!!

This article was published on Tuesday 20 March, 2007.
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