What Makes a Quality Rivet?
A quality rivet needs to have certain physical characteristics to perform properly. The head and shank diameters must be precision machined to match the holes they will go into. Tolerances of just a few thousandths of an inch can make the difference between a rivet that fits right and one that is sloppy or fails entirely. The material strength is also vital, as rivets need to handle shearing and tensile stresses without bending, cracking, or pulling out.
And of course, surface finish and consistency are essential. Rivets need to be free of burrs, cracks, or imperfections that could lead to failure or make them harder to install. For manufacturers using rivets in their products, every rivet needs to be as identical to the others as possible.
This level of quality control is challenging to achieve with conventional rivet making processes. However, modern CNC machines are ideally suited to produce rivets to the tightest requirements.
Benefits of CNC Machined Rivets
CNC machining uses computerized controls to automate material removal processes like milling, turning, drilling, and grinding. By precisely controlling factors like feed rates, speed, depth of cut, and more, CNC machines can fabricate parts like rivets with incredible accuracy and consistency. Here are some of the benefits of CNC machined rivets:
- Extremely consistent dimensions - CNC automation ensures each rivet is identical. Tolerances down to +/- 0.005 inches or better are routine. This reduces variation and improves quality control.
- High material strength - CNC machining produces a fine surface finish and imparts less internal stress on the material compared to other processes. This results in higher tensile strength.
- No burrs or imperfections - The computer controlled nature of CNC machining eliminates defects in the rivet surface finish or geometry.
- Fast production rates - CNC machines work much faster than manual machining. Hundreds or even thousands of quality rivets can be produced per hour.
- Design flexibility - With the precise control of CNC, rivet heads and shanks can be machined to nearly any needed shape or size. Custom geometries are simple to accommodate.
- Material versatility - CNC machines can readily process aluminum, steel, titanium, brass, and other common rivet materials with the necessary precision. Even exotic alloys are no problem.
By leveraging these advantages, CNC machining delivers rivets that meet the tightest quality control standards for strength, consistency, and performance.
CNC Rivet Manufacturing Processes
While a variety of CNC techniques can be applied to rivet production, two of the most common are CNC lathe machining and CNC screw machining.
CNC Lathe Machining
On a CNC lathe, the rivet blank is rotated at high speeds while cutter tools remove material to achieve the desired shape. CNC lathes can quickly and accurately machine the head and shank of rivets to required dimensions. Depending on the capabilities of the CNC lathe, both ends of the rivet can be machined in one operation with a twin spindle/twin turret configuration, or in two operations using a single spindle/turret lathe. Either way, CNC turning produces finished rivets that meet specifications right off the machine with no secondary processing required.
CNC Screw Machining
Another approach is to create rivets via CNC screw machining. Screw machines use thread rolling heads to form threaded fasteners. By swapping the die heads for rivet forming tools, the CNC machine can roll and form rivet shanks and heads from wire fed into the spindle. Integrated cutting operations produce precision rivet lengths. Tools can be changed automatically to produce different rivet sizes and geometries within the same program. While CNC screw machining requires some additional post-processing like heat treating, it is an efficient method for medium and high volume rivet production.
From aircraft and autos to bridges and buildings, quality rivets are relied upon to provide robust and reliable fastening performance. Thanks to advances in CNC technology, it is now possible to manufacture rivets to the industry’s highest standards of quality control and consistency. With techniques like CNC lathe machining and CNC screw machining, companies can efficiently mass produce rivets that have incredibly precise dimensions, unparalleled strength, and smooth surface finishes free of defects – all necessary characteristics of a quality rivet. By leveraging CNC machining for rivet manufacturing, companies can keep their supply chain running with an ample inventory of exceptional rivets. CNC Milling