Down the Tubes

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At the Bench

Creating hollow rivets, step by step

By Helen I. Driggs

All rivets have the same function—they are plugs of metal that are manipulated with tools to fill a hole or holes in other objects in order to hold them together. They’re a great way to attach materials that cannot be soldered or welded together. Hollow (or tube) rivets are the easiest rivets to fabricate and are traditionally created from seamless tubing. I normally choose to use thin-walled tubing to create rivets; thick-walled tubing will also work, it is just more challenging to use because you’ll need to roll over more metal. The most difficult part of fabricating a well-made hollow rivet is sawing and finishing it at the correct length for a clean and smooth roll on both ends of the rivet.