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How to Repair Rivet Tools

by Tom Lutzenberger

"Rosie the Riveter" worked in a factory during World War II inserting and securing rivets between materials to connect them together. When Rosie ran into a problem on the assembly line, she needed a solution fast to keep production moving on the home front. The situation is repeated in factories today when a rivet tool needs repairing. Knowing how to quickly fix the obstacle or blockage can save time, money and energy -- and production keep up.

Fixing a Hand Rivet Gun

Turn the rivet tool upside down so you can see inside the rivet nose. Confirm if a rivet needle is stuck inside and won't come loose. Use a crescent wrench to remove the nose bit.

Twist the nose bit off, giving you clearance to get at the jammed rivet needle. Use needle-nose pliers to grab the rivet needle and pull it out. Work the hand lever of the tool to force the needle to move.

Switch to vise grip pliers if the needle won't release. Apply the pliers on the exposed needle stub. Set the vise handle and squeeze the pliers so they lock on the needle. Hold the tool with one hand and twist the vise pliers with the other until the needle stub comes free.

Fixing and Automated Rivet Gun

Check the rivet tip on the tool to confirm it is the right size for the rivets being installed. Check the air pressure if the tool is an air rivet gun to confirm the pressure is sufficient to work properly. Look at the air supply valve to make sure it is positioned to "ON".

Fix the air pressure to meet 100 psi (pounds per square inch) if the air pressure is too low. Try the tool again to see if it works. Disconnect the tool's air hose if the tool still fails.

Disconnect the rivet tool's stub collector bin attached to the tool. Clean out any remaining metal bits or pieces of rivet. Disconnect the cleaned out part with a crescent or socket wrench. Expose the silencer component in the collector socket and use a shop rag to clean the silencer parts. Reassemble the stub collector and secure the end cap.

Check the hydraulic fluid level of the tool if possible. Contact or call by phone your local rivet gun dealer for your brand of tool if fluid needs to be replenished internally.

Tip

  • Many times the hand tool version just needs to be worked a few times to release the rivet stud out of a jammed location.

Warning

  • Never aim the rivet gun at your face when it is still operating or connected to an air hose. Always disconnect automated tools before trying to service them.

Items you will need

About the Author

Since 2009 Tom Lutzenberger has written for various websites, covering topics ranging from finance to automotive history. Lutzenberger works in public finance and policy and consults on a variety of analytical services. His education includes a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science from Saint Mary's College and a Master of Business Administration in finance and marketing from California State University, Sacramento.

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