Uses for Rivets in CNC Machining(rapid prototype tooling Mark)
- source:EAGLEBURGER CNC Machining
One of the most common uses for rivets in CNC is blind riveting. Blind rivets, also known as pop rivets, are tubular and allow for joining materials where only one side is accessible for assembly. The rivet is inserted into a pre-drilled hole and as the stem is drawn into the body, the rivet flares against the backside surface for secure fastening. Blind rivets come in aluminum, steel, stainless steel and specialty alloys.
CNC machines feature automated riveting tools and heads that can be programmed to precisely insert blind rivets for high volume production. Pneumatic, hydraulic or electric power can drive the riveting process. Control of the force, stroke and speed allows manufacturers to dial in optimal settings for different rivet types and material stackups.
Blind rivets are popular for applications such as:
- Sheet metal fabrication
- HVAC ducting
- Automotive panels
- Appliance casings
- Electronics enclosures
Structural rivets are designed to withstand shear forces and join materials under tension. They feature large head profiles that increase bearing surface area for enhanced strength. Structural rivets are commonly used in steel construction of:
- Transmission towers
- Railway tracks
- Offshore oil platforms
CNC machines outfitted with specialty riveting equipment can drive large structural rivets through thick materials. This includes hot riveting where the rivets are heated red hot to increase plasticity and cold riveting of softer materials like aluminum. Precise automation provides the force and accuracy needed to install structural rivets on heavy duty components.
In addition to standard blind and structural rivets, CNC technology enables use of specialized rivet types:
- Drive rivets feature a pre-assembled drive pin and collar piece to facilitate automated installation. Popular for high volume assembly.
- Grooved rivets contain locking grooves that increase resistance to vibration and shock loads. Used extensively in aerospace applications.
- Large head rivets provide extra bearing surface for joints that undergo multi-axis loads. Ideal for connecting machinery braces and brackets.
- Countersunk head rivets allow flush seating for smooth surfaces. Commonly used on aircraft exteriors and other streamlined designs.
- Custom length rivets can be cut to size for precision fit-up of complex components. Minimizes adjustment and rework.
- Exotic metal rivets including titanium, copper and nickel alloys meet specialized strength, corrosion and temperature requirements.
The versatility of CNC machines enables manufacturers to efficiently process these varied rivet designs from prototype through production. Quick change tooling and smart fixturing streamlines set up for different rivet installation operations.
Rivet Handling and Feeding
For larger production runs, CNC riveting systems can be integrated with automated rivet handling and feeding mechanisms. Vibratory bowl feeders orient and deliver rivets to the machine tool magazines and manipulators.
In-line hoppers hold bulk volumes of rivets in cranes or chutes above the feed bowls for continuous operation. Sensors track rivet quantity and trigger refill when needed.
For smaller scale applications, technicians can manually load rivet reels or trays into the CNC machine. The riveting heads are designed for easy and fast reloading to minimize downtime.
Whatever the feed method, integrated rivet delivery ensures a steady supply of rivets for uninterrupted CNC machining.
CNC Control and Programming
The real advantage of CNC riveting is programmable control over the entire process. Machine operators use CAD models and riveting schematics to generate programs. The CNC software translates the program into machine code to guide the riveting heads.
CNC enables precise positioning of rivets along complex contours and geometric patterns that would be impossible to replicate manually. It also allows easy editing of programs for design revisions and customization.
The CNC controller monitors and regulates:
- Rivet feed rate
- Impact force
- Insertion depth
- Cycle times
- Quality checks
In addition, the machine interface displays key riveting parameters and diagnostics for performance management. Data collection supports continuous process refinement between jobs.
Riveting applications can be saved as templates for reuse which saves substantial programming time. Operators simply plug in the custom rivet positions and settings for each new part number.
In summary, CNC automation brings accuracy, consistency and efficiency to riveting operations. The capabilities of CNC allow manufacturers to fully leverage the versatility of rivets for diverse materials joining challenges. With the right combination of rivet styles and CNC equipment, factories can optimize production of high quality riveted assemblies. CNC Milling CNC Machining