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Types of Rivets: A Detailed Guide to Rivet Types and Their Common Uses

Rivets are an essential component in the manufacturing industry. Their ability to take tensile load and shear stress makes them irreplaceable in manufacturing.

Rivets are an essential component in the manufacturing industry. Their ability to take tensile load and shear stress makes them irreplaceable in manufacturing. They are used to connect one material to another. Rivets can find their use in home construction as well as submarine manufacturing. 

The application of rivets may depend on their design and manufacturing material. They are capable of joining heavy-duty materials for industrial use with lightweight ones for aesthetic purposes. Rivets are usually hammered in or applied using special tools. As they are installed into materials, the shaft is split or expanded to form a permanent joint in place. 

This article will discuss various types of rivets and their uses to understand their usage and applications better. 

What are Rivets

Rivets are metallic or alloy components that are useful for mechanically joining metal, wood, or plastic pieces. The construction and manufacturing industry heavily depends on rivets for fastening. Rivets have a simple design of a thick head and a long tail at one end which is made from strong metals.

What are Rivets

The rivet’s head is larger in diameter than the cylindrical body/shank. It may look similar to a metal pin. Some common metals for making rivets are steel, brass, copper, and aluminum. Some people may confuse rivets with bolts and nuts, but they need a different assembly. 

The rivets form permanent joints that are stronger as the tail is deformed(shop head). On the other hand, nuts and bolts form temporary joints and can be removed.

Benefits of using rivets 

  • Sturdy and durable: Solid rivets give strong connections that are durable for years. Rivet connections do not loosen due to vibration or repeated force.
  • Simple to install: Rivets are easy to install and can be applied in a minute with the right tools. 
  • Easy joint accessibility: Rivet installation is possible from just one access point and faying surfaces. This allows the single installation point to join two surfaces even with limited access. 
  • Affordable: These are low in cost when joining two surfaces permanently instead of relying on bolts and nuts. 
  • Less damaging: When riveted joints are removed, there is less damage in comparison to welded materials.

The downside of using rivets

  • You cannot use rivets when you have to take apart the joints, as rivets form permanent bonds by deforming the tails. 
  • The installation process is noisy due to continuous hammering.
  • Rivets may form a permanent joint, but welding is considered to be a better choice for fusing two metals. 
  • When connections are made using rivets, they do not offer leakproofing. Therefore, a watertight seal cannot be observed.  
  • You will have to add the labor cost when installing rivets.

Understanding Various Rivet Design

Rivets are used for various purposes; therefore, their design is altered as per that. These designs may impact the strength, aesthetic appeal, and material requirement. Below are some common types of rivets: 

Understanding Various Rivet Design

Solid Rivets

These are among the most common rivets due to their easy-to-assemble design and installation process. Available in different sizes and softness, they give a huge range of choices. A simple hammer and a crimping tool can be used for installation by pushing the solid shaft into the material by impacting the head. These rivets are made using aluminum, steel, and copper; hence, they are strong enough to be used for machines, construction, ships, electronics, and aircraft. 

Snap-Head Rivet

These have high strength and can be used in manufacturing and construction. They are designed with a solid, strong head that may be up to 0.7 inches with a shank of diameter of 1.6 inches. These are useful in joining large objects together. 

Pan Head Rivet

These rivets are designed with a head that is rounded and sloped. This ensures a firm grip when joining the two materials. They may be made using steel, brass, copper, aluminum, stainless steel, and carbon. These are best suited for construction purposes.

Blind/Pop Rivets

These are tubular rivets with a mandrel that is attached in the middle of the head. As the force is applied for installation, the head of the mandrel expands and interlocks the material. This ensures a solid permanent joint. These rivets are great when you cannot access the end of the joint. Primary applications are in electronics, aerospace, and shipbuilding. 

Drive Rivets

These rivets have a simple design with a mandrel attached to the center. You may use a hammer to install these as the mandrel is easy to push into the materials. You may use these rivets for home decor installations when the metal sheet does not have a hole that crosses through the entire object. 

Split Rivets

These are self-piercing rivets that are ideal for plastic, leather, and wood. Split rivets have split bodies with sharp tips to create holes and pass through materials. They may not be suitable for heavy load-carrying materials, but they work to join two different materials. These rivets bifurcate when force is applied and create a joint.

Self-Piercing Rivets

These are the easiest rivets to install as they do not need a hole in the material for installation. It can self-pierce the material with some hammering and poking. When they enter the material’s top layer, they half-peer the material underneath. This ensures the two materials are connected when the tail spreads and interlocks the two materials. These rivets are great for joining two different materials that will be exhibited to high stress. 

Threaded Rivet

The mandrel of these rivets is threaded for easy installation. Besides, the external part is designed to lay flat on the materials connecting. A simple tool may be used to install these rivets with hexagonal or circular heads. These may be used in aerospace, automobiles, and industrial manufacturing. 

Pull-Mandrel Rivets

These rivets have a pull-on prenotched serrated mantel design. They are easy to install with a direct force application to get to the other side of the material. These usually have a consistent clamp force and a tight radial set. 

Tubular Rivets

Tubular rivets have a varying design with a simple head, shank, and partially hollow tube. They may be hollow from the inside to pass through materials that are joining. These rivets are made using ductile materials to ensure flexibility. Tubular rivets are mostly used in electrical devices.

Flush Rivets

Flush rivets have an aesthetic appeal as they are exposed to the surface. These are also called countersunk rivets with a countersunk head and holes. This design makes them suitable for finished metal surfaces. These rivets are ideal for aerodynamic applications due to their design and aesthetic appeal.

Friction-Lock Rivets

These multi-piece rivets have a long stem and a sleeve covering. They are ideal for railways, automobiles, and aircraft. The joints formed are strong even under high pressure and force. 

Mushroom Head Rivets

As the name says, these rivets are shaped like mushroom heads at the top and have a low profile in comparison to regular rivets. Therefore, they have small locking parts and are useful for joining different materials that are not too thick.

Purpose and Use of Rivets

Rivets serve as connecting tools in making large structures and machines. They drill a hole in the materials and join them permanently as the tail deforms in the process of installation. 

Purpose and Use of Rivets

A rivet has a factory head that is made during fabrication and connected to the tail. The tail becomes a shop head when installed using hammering motion. This process of tail becoming shop head is known as buckling/upsetting. This ensures the bond is strong and permanent. 

Here is how the rivet is installed:

  • Step 1: Get a rivet that works best for the materials you are joining. Choose from various shapes and size recommendations. 
  • Step 2: Pick the best place to install the rivets on the material. 
  • Step 3: Drill a hole that is 1.5mm more than the rivet diameter. 
  • Step 4: Insert the rivet in the drilled hole. 
  • Step 5: The hammer is the tail from the other end that creates the permanent joint. Make sure the tail spreads evenly, about one and a half its previous size. 
  • Step 6: The rivet bottom should look like the workpiece to give maximum support. 

How are Rivets Made?

Rivets are made using 3D printing, CNC machines, and injection molding. Their manufacturing material and process ensure their strength and durability. One old method of making rivets is using drawn metal bars or melted metal poured into molds. The new technology of Computerised Numerical Control and digital printing is a precise way to make sturdy rivets for the manufacturing and construction industries. 

Different Materials Used for Rivet Manufacturing 

Different materials are used to make rivets. The most common one is stainless steel due to its material properties. It is non-corrosive and strong. The materials used for making rivets impart strength, durability, malleability, ductility, and ease of use. Apart from the shape of the rivet, the material may also help in deciding which will be best for the job. We’ll discuss different materials below. 

Different Materials Used for Rivet Manufacturing

Stainless Steel Rivets

Stainless steel is among the strongest materials that is easy to form into rivets. It is resistant to deterioration as it can withstand corrosion due to air and water contact. This makes stainless steel rivets perfect for locomotives, automobiles, and aircraft. 

Steel Rivets

Steel is another great material with low carbon properties. It can be installed easily to fit various materials together. On the other hand, high-carbon steel may require more help in installation as it has limited moldability. The choice of steel rivets must be made on the basis of material and strength requirements. 

Copper Rivets

Copper is known for being electrically and thermally conductive. This makes it great for electrical machines and industries when electricity and heat need to be transferred. Many electrical appliances come fitted with copper rivets for best conductivity. 

Brass Rivets

Brass material is flexible and hence is highly malleable. This allows it to be easily formed into various rivets. It also has low friction and hence can be used in manufacturing appliances. Brass is also corrosion resistant as it does not have ferrous or iron in its composition. 

Aluminum Rivets

Aluminum is another standard material used in construction and manufacturing. It is lightweight and yet strong. Being malleable, aluminum spreads easily with little force. Therefore, aluminum rivets are easy to install with fewer tools and do not deteriorate with the action of natural elements. 

Plastic Rivets 

Plastic rivets are easy to manufacture and provide secure fastening for plastic as well as metallic components. They are corrosion-resistant and have more tensile strength. Plastic rivets can be made using the injection molding technique. Plastic granules of materials such as acetal, Delrin, Polysulfone, and LDPE are transferred to molds and heated to take the shape of the mold. When the plastic cools down, the rivets are ejected from the molds. 

Rivets Applications 

Rivets are used as fastening tools in various industries, such as home construction, automobiles, electronics, sports, bag manufacturing, and jewelry, to name a few. Some rivets serve for weight-bearing materials, while some are for aesthetic joints between two materials. 


As discussed above, rivets are used predominantly in the construction industry because of their high strength and durability. When joining two or more materials in construction, rivets can be hammered to form solid joints without the use of any other material or power tools. For instance, you may join metal and wood using rivets. This may help with home construction or furniture making. 

Apart from home construction, you may find rivets useful in wooden work. They are also useful in joining wood to metal or its alloys. These joints make the wooden fixtures around the house long-lasting. 

Fiberglass roofing also uses rivets for installation and keeping it in shape. Other examples are doors, guards, rails, windows, and hangers. When nails and bolts cannot be useful in construction, rivets keep the materials together for a long time. 

Automotive Industry

Rivets are widely used in the automotive industry. Rivets can be useful to fasten several parts, such as chassis components and body panels made of materials like steel and aluminum. So it’s easier to join two or more different metals. Since rivets are resistant to vibration and mechanical fatigue, they are ideal for high-strength applications. 

Aerospace Industry

Aerospace projects have to be strong and reliable. Rivets are used to make them long-lasting and solid to perform without faults in challenging situations. The construction of aircraft uses the riveting technique for joining various components, forming strong permanent bonds. Aircraft mostly have an aluminum alloy body; therefore, it is safer and more compatible to use rivets as metal cannot be soldered to create these joints. 


Sports equipment such as bicycles, skin binding, roller skates, and skateboards have different components that can be joined using rivets. These joints give them high durability and strength to withstand constant motion and impact. 

Rivets Applications

Jewelry Industry

The jewelry industry is upgrading its methods of joining different metals by switching to cold joining methods instead of melting the metal. This new method is more efficient and ensures that precious metals are not getting wasted. Moreover, not soldering the metal and using the right tools with specific methods allows the jewelry manufacturer to generate identical pieces. They are no longer dependent on old soldering techniques. 

Wrapping Up

Rivets are essential for construction and manufacturing to form strong permanent joints. They are sturdy and long-lasting when compared to nuts and screws. Vibrational movement cannot impact their bond; hence, it makes them ideal for construction. You may choose the right rivet from the designs mentioned above and add strong joints in two materials. If your project requires custom rivets, you may use CNC machining and 3D printing for manufacturing. 

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