Rivet Varieties: An Overview of Rivet Types and Their Common Applications

To create a comprehensive component or structure, various elements are assembled using essential tools. Within the manufacturing sector, one indispensable element is represented by rivets. Diverse kinds of rivets are at your disposal, each chosen based on specific design requirements and inherent properties.

These rivets exhibit remarkable fastening capabilities suitable for both lightweight and heavy-duty tasks. As a result, they play a crucial role in numerous applications, spanning from aircraft and submarines to sheet-metal assemblies. Moreover, they prove advantageous in bearing tensile and shear loads.

This article aims to provide insights into the different types of rivets and their respective applications. Let’s delve into the details!

A Glimpse into Rivets

Understanding Rivets

Simply put, a rivet serves as a mechanical fastener or link featuring opposing head and tail ends. Comprising a head, a sleek cylindrical body, and a tail resembling a metallic pin, rivets are typically crafted from aluminum or steel, although alternative materials are also employed. Unlike conventional bolts and nuts, rivets utilize distinctive installation methods to ensure the enduring assembly or connection of parts.

Functioning of Rivets Rivets play a pivotal role in machinery and structural development. Installation methods include drilling, punching, or placing them within a hole and deforming the tail. The prevalent riveting process involves drilling a hole in the parts to be riveted, providing simplicity and accessibility.

The rivet snugly fits into a drilled hole that exceeds its diameter by approximately 1.5 mm to enhance its secure placement. Once installed, the tail protrudes at the opposite end and undergoes deformation. Pounding or compressing the tail flattens the material, causing it to unfold or spread, expanding to around one and a half times its original size.

In simpler terms, creating a dumbbell-shaped rivet involves pounding or pulling to break off the tail, flattening one end, and forming a new head on the other. This process results in the tail assuming the shape of a dumbbell, effectively riveting the joint.

Drawbacks of Riveting

 Every advantage comes with its share of drawbacks. Here are some disadvantages associated with riveting:

  • Riveting demands more time and labor compared to welding, involving additional tasks such as layouts and hole drilling.
  • The labor cost associated with rivet joints is relatively high.
  • Welded joints exhibit lighter weights than rivet joints due to the use of rivets and strap-plates.
  • The riveting process generates more noise than welding, primarily from the loud hammer blows.
  • Riveting does not guarantee a consistently tight and leak-proof joint.
  • Joints assembled with rivets tend to be heavier than those brazed or welded.

Materials Used for Rivets

There are several metal materials for manufacturing rivets. They include steel, copper, brass, aluminum, copper, and stainless steel. Designers and manufacturers choose these different materials to satisfy their needs.

With these vast materials, rivets now have unlimited applications. Therefore, it is advisable to select a rivet-making material that matches the properties of the parts you are about to join together.


Steels with low carbon properties are suitable for rivets applications. This is due to its ability to clinch or fit well in its application. In addition, it is highly flexible and adaptive compared to rigid high carbon steel rivets. Rivets made with high carbon steels require more material while their moldability decreases.

Stainless Steel

The stainless steel rivets are considerably hard, strong, and withstand deterioration. These are the kind of rivets for locomotive, aircraft, and power-producing industries. These stainless rivets are employed for their ability to resist corrosion.


Aluminum is another metal variant with a renowned usage for rivets and fasteners. It is recognized for its tenderness and its lightweight attribute. Aluminum material offers a strong deterioration resistance, and it is suitable for several applications. Furthermore, aluminum is quite malleable; hence, it allows you to create complex part configurations easily.


Brass is a flexible, low-friction, and supple material. It has quite a fascinating resistance to tarnish and equally high strength. As a result of its properties, Brass cannot create sparks. These attributes render brass rivets the most suitable kind in gas appliances.


Copper is a flexible material, both in its appearance and applications. It has a remarkable ability to conduct heat and electricity. Copper material is a great conductor of electricity, making copper rivets most preferred in water and electrical appliances.

Rivet Materials Overview

Various metallic materials are employed in the production of rivets, providing designers and manufacturers with a range of options to meet their specific requirements. These materials include steel, copper, brass, aluminum, and stainless steel.

The diversity in rivet materials opens up limitless possibilities for their applications. It is advisable to carefully select the material for rivet production based on its compatibility with the properties of the components being joined.


Rivets made from low-carbon steel are well-suited for applications due to their excellent clinching ability and compatibility. Low-carbon steel exhibits high flexibility and adaptability compared to the less pliable high-carbon steel rivets, which demand more material for production.

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel rivets boast considerable hardness and strength, making them ideal for industries such as locomotives, aircraft, and power generation, where durability is crucial. The corrosion resistance of stainless steel further enhances its suitability for various applications.


Widely recognized for its lightweight and soft characteristics, aluminum is a popular material for rivets and fasteners. The material offers strong resistance to corrosion and is particularly suitable for diverse applications. Additionally, aluminum’s malleability facilitates the creation of intricate part configurations.


Known for its flexibility, low-friction properties, and suppleness, brass is a material with high resistance to tarnish and impressive strength. Brass rivets, distinguished by their spark-free characteristics, find optimal use in gas appliances.


Copper stands out as a versatile material, both in appearance and application. Renowned for its excellent conductivity of heat and electricity, copper rivets are preferred in water and electrical appliances where efficient energy transfer is essential.

Various Rivet Types for Manufacturing

A diverse range of rivet options is available for various manufacturing needs. These can be broadly categorized into the following groups.

Solid Rivets: The Most Common Type

Solid rivets stand out as the most prevalent among their counterparts. They are uncomplicated, reliable, and represent one of the earliest methods for joining materials. These basic devices consist of a solid shaft with a head on one end, which becomes deformed using a rivet gun or hammer. The opposite end, without a head, undergoes deformation to complete the fastening process.

Comprising only shafts and heads, solid rivets can be equipped with either 100-degree countersunk or round universal heads. They find extensive use in applications where safety and reliability are paramount, such as in the structural components of aircraft.

Blind Rivets: Also Known as Pop Rivets

Blind rivets, also recognized as hollow or pop rivets, are tubular fasteners featuring a mandrel through their center. Manufacturers insert these rivets into drilled holes in the parts to be joined. The blind end expands, causing the mandrel to break off. Unlike solid rivets, blind rivets can be installed from one side of the part, making them “blind” to the other side. This characteristic is particularly advantageous when the rear end of a joint is challenging to access. Blind rivets are widely employed in aerospace, electronics, and shipbuilding.

Noteworthy types of blind rivets include:

Pull-Mandrel Rivets: These double countersunk blind rivets ensure a flush surface on both sides of their applications. The mandrel head remains intact, providing consistent clamp force. The tight radial set in these rivets enhances structural rigidity.

Threaded Rivets: Also known as blind rivet nuts or threaded inserts, this variant allows anchoring from one side. Standard options suffice for most blind applications, while heavy-duty rivets, with reinforced sidewalls and heads, cater to high-performance and demanding applications.

Drive-Pin Rivets: Featuring short mandrels protruding from their heads, drive-pin rivets can be worked using a hammer or similar tool to flare out the rivet’s end inside the hole. Popular for architectural and aesthetically-driven applications, they eliminate the need for hole drilling but provide slightly less clamping force compared to other rivet types.

Hollow-End Tubular Rivets:

These rivets exhibit a partially hollow design with diverse configurations. A typical tubular rivet features a manufactured head on one side and a hollow end on the opposite side. The hollow end protrudes through each component during the joining process. Manufacturers often employ cold forming to shape the hollow end into a field head.

Due to the extensive cold forming required for these rivets, they must be highly ductile and made of low-strength metals. Consequently, tubular rivets find popularity in commercial applications. Various types of tubular rivets include:

Compression Tubular Rivets: Comprising two parts with an interference fit during fastening, these rivets are ideal for soft materials requiring aesthetic appeal on both sides.

Full Tubular Rivets: Featuring deeper holes than their counterparts, these rivets are generally weaker than semi-tubular ones. However, they effectively penetrate softer materials like fabric and plastic.

Semi-Tubular Rivets: Characterized by holes in the field end, these rivets have a hole depth approximately 1.12 times the shank diameter, resulting in a solid rivet feel after forming the field head.

Home Repair Split Rivets:

Also known as bifurcated rivets, split rivets share similarities with self-piercing rivets. They are particularly suitable for joining softer materials such as leather, plastic, and wood. Available with split or sawed bodies, split rivets are commonly used in home repair scenarios. Their sharp ends facilitate hole creation in the materials themselves, but caution is advised against employing them in extreme or critical applications.

Countersink Flush Rivets:

Flush rivets, also called countersunk rivets, are applied on external surfaces to enhance appearance and reduce aerodynamic drag. This is achieved through the use of countersunk holes and heads. While flush rivets are functional for aircraft exteriors to minimize drag and turbulence for aerodynamic reasons, additional post-installation operations may be necessary to optimize airflow.

Self-Piercing Rivets with Superior Column Strength:

This type of rivet obviates the necessity for pre-drilled or punched holes. Instead, the rivets are equipped with a beveled drill or chamfered tip, enabling them to penetrate components without the need for prior hole preparation. These self-piercing rivets traverse the top layer of the material, leaving the bottom layer partially penetrated, thereby establishing a gas-tight or water-tight joint. The upsetting die induces the rivet’s tail to expand and interlock with the bottom sheet, resulting in the formation of a discreet, low-profile button.

What are Rivets Used For?

Rivet’s primary purpose is to ensure a firm and reliable tightening of two or more metallic or wooden materials. When you do this, you have a joint stronger than that of a screw with the same diameter.

 Here are some of the uses of rivets:

Rivets in Aircrafts

Originally, aircraft machining projects should be made of solid, durable, and dependable materials. Unfortunately, everything might fall apart if operators don’t tighten these solid and heavy materials together well. Therefore, riveting is essential to aircraft construction as much as brazing, welding, and bolting.

The main aim is to have a strong alignment, and the strongest combination of parts joined together, and riveting is important to achieve this. Rivets help to fasten aluminum alloys together due to their difficulty to solder. Riveting also ensures neatness and strength, creating room for lighter weight in aircraft. In cases of aircraft repair or construction, reaching the far end of a tightened structure may prove difficult or nearly impossible. Riveting is the only remedy in this situation.


Professional and amateur jewelry manufacturers include riveting as a cold joining technique in their operations. Jewelry producers can easily employ riveting to achieve cold connections by using some instructional videos, basic metal forming skills, and some common tools. Riveting has made it quite possible for fabricators to connect metallic pieces in jewelry without necessarily soldering.


Rivet is famous for its efficiency when it comes to construction. It is a sophisticated connector that allows you to connect different parts of a machine and structure easily. This rivet facilitates the joining of cabinets, wooden shelves, lockers. Using rivets as joints can connect any wooden materials.

Rivets serve as a joint that is considerably durable and reliable than screws and lines. For instance, when rivets are used as joints in furniture, such furniture is bound to last longer. This is due to the rivets keeping the furniture in place over time.

Building a Residence

Perhaps you could thoroughly examine the contents of your dwelling, both its interior and exterior. Chances are, you may stumble upon a few rivets that have previously escaped your notice. Interestingly, these rivets are likely to be found within your immediate surroundings. Their significance lies in their application to fiberglass roofing. In the case that your home features this type of roofing, rivets play a crucial role in securing the glass components together.

Moreover, rivets serve as effective materials in the assembly of gutters. They prove to be more reliable than nails when it comes to fastening metal sheets together. Notably, the process of riveting contributes to the construction of various structures, including window blinds, wind guards, doors, and even hanger straps.


Rivets are a superior alternative to screws, bolts, and nuts, proving to be more efficient and reliable than all other connectors. Today, various types of rivets serve different purposes due to the dynamic nature of machines and structures. However, it’s crucial to choose appropriate metal rivets for your applications to achieve optimal results.

BOYI offers essential CNC machining metal rivets and provides top-notch custom precision CNC machining services for both prototyping and production machining. Our skilled technicians possess the necessary expertise to deliver outstanding services, ensuring desired results with fast lead times.

Upon uploading your design file, our system conducts automated DfM analysis and promptly provides you with an instant quote. For all your CNC machining metal rivet needs, don’t hesitate to reach out to BOYI.

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