The Art of Sheet Metal Riveting: A Comprehensive Guide

Riveting refers to the process of using rivets to connect two or more workpieces, typically sheet metal pieces or components. Riveting can be classified into rivet riveting, pull riveting, and core striking riveting.

1. Rivet Riveting

In riveting, the component that deforms itself or uses a press-fit connection with the riveted parts is called a rivet. There are many types of rivets, including semi-round head rivets, flat head rivets, semi-hollow rivets, solid rivets, and countersunk rivets.

Cold riveting is generally used for rivets <8mm, and hot riveting is used for rivets ≥8mm. Parameters of rivets and riveting requirements are detailed in most mechanical design handbooks, so they won’t be discussed here.

The rivet riveting process includes: drilling – (grooving) – deburring – inserting rivets – die holding the rivet – rotating rivet machine forming (or manual tightening).

2. Pull Riveting

Pull riveting refers to the process of using a pull rivet to connect two components with through holes by pulling the pull rod until it breaks with a pull rivet gun, causing the pull rivet sleeve to expand and become a non-detachable connection.

1) Pull rivets, also known as core-pulling rivets, are a type of rivet used for single-sided riveting. Pull rivets require special tools, such as a pull rivet gun (manual, electric, or pneumatic) for riveting. This type of rivet is especially suitable for situations where ordinary rivets (which require riveting from both sides) are inconvenient.

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Therefore, they are widely used in products such as ships, airplanes, machines, and electrical appliances. The most widely used are the open-type shoulder round head pull rivets, countersunk pull rivets suitable for surfaces requiring smooth riveting, and sealed pull rivets suitable for high-load and certain sealing performance riveting situations. When using pull rivets, note that:

A) In the riveting of flat head pull rivets, the side in contact with the rivet head must be countersunk.

B) In the riveting of round head pull rivets, the side in contact with the rivet head should be flat.

2) For pull riveting parameters, see Table 9-17.

Table 9-17 Pull Riveting Parameters

Rivet TypeNominal Rivet Diameter
Steel Plate Rivet Hole Diameter
Riveted Steel Plate Thickness
Aluminum Rivet2.
Steel Rivet3. 


1. Generally, the through-hole of a part is 0.1~0.2mm larger than the nominal diameter of the blind rivet.

2. Blind rivets can be blackened or otherwise treated to meet product requirements, allowing them to match the color of the workpiece.

3. The center distance of the blind rivet hole from the edge of the base plate should be more than twice the diameter of the blind rivet hole. At this distance, the riveting strength is optimal. If the distance is less, the strength greatly decreases.

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3. Strike-core rivets

Strike-core rivets are another type of single-sided rivet. During riveting, the rivet head is struck with a hammer to release the core, making it flush with the end face of the rivet head, thus completing the riveting.

Its operation is very convenient, especially suitable for riveting situations where it is inconvenient to use ordinary rivets (which require riveting on both sides) or blind rivets (when there is a lack of a rivet gun).

Flat round head strike-core rivets are commonly used, while countersunk strike-core rivets are suitable for situations where a smooth surface is required.

4. Drawn Arc Stud Welding

Drawn arc stud welding is one of the methods for directly connecting two sheet metal parts, mainly used for the connection of coated steel plates or stainless steel plates.

One of the sheet metal parts is processed at the connection point to create a countersink hole, while the other has the hole at the connection point flanged. They are riveted together using a riveting mold to form an inseparable connection.

The method of drawn arc stud welding is shown in Figure 9-7.

Figure 9-7 Pull-hole Riveting Method
  • a) Assembly of parts
  • b) Beginning of riveting
  • c) Completion of riveting

4.1 Features of Pull-hole Riveting

(1) Advantages of Pull-hole Riveting

The flange and countersink hole combination inherently possess a positioning function. The riveting strength is also high due to the usage of a riveting die, resulting in a higher production efficiency.

(2) Disadvantages of Pull-hole Riveting

It’s a one-time connection and can’t be disassembled.

4.2 Pull-hole Riveting Parameters

1) Principle of shell matching:

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  • D=D’-0.3
  • D-d=0.8t

When the thickness ‘t’ is greater than or equal to 0.8mm, the flanging hole wall thickness is set at 0.4t.

When ‘t’ is less than 0.8mm, the flanging hole wall thickness is typically set at 0.3mm.

The height ‘h’ is generally chosen to be 0.46±0.12mm.

For the parameters of the drawn hole riveting, refer to Table 9-18.

Table 9-18 presents the drawn hole riveting parameters (in mm).

Parameter NumberMaterial Thickness
Bending Height
Flange Outer Diameter
Corresponding to the inner diameter ‘d’ of the straight hole and the bottom hole ‘do‘ of the pre-flanged edge.

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