Producing High Quality Rivets with CNC Machines(machining threads Bradley)

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Rivets are a crucial component in many manufacturing and construction applications. They provide a strong, permanent fastening solution for joining multiple components together. As with any mechanical part, the quality of the rivets used can have a significant impact on the safety, durability and performance of the final product. Using computer numerical control (CNC) machines to produce rivets offers key advantages over other manufacturing methods when it comes to achieving consistently high quality.
What Makes a High Quality Rivet?
A good quality rivet needs to meet certain standards related to its material properties, dimensions, head profile and surface finish.
- Material: Aircraft grade aluminum alloys are commonly used for rivets in aerospace, automotive and other high-performance applications. Softer alloys or steel are used for more cost-sensitive purposes. The material must be strong, durable and corrosion resistant.
- Dimensions: The shank diameter, head profile and overall length must conform precisely to specifications. Even minor deviations can affect the fit and fastening security.
- Head Profile: Different head shapes like round, countersunk and brazier are available. The head must be formed to the required shape.
- Surface Finish: A smooth, uniform surface finish allows the rivet to be inserted and fastened correctly. Any scratches, burrs or irregularities could cause issues.
Advantages of Using CNC Machining
CNC machining offers unique benefits for producing rivets with the high consistency and quality needed for critical applications:
- Precision: CNC machines are extremely precise down to fractions of a millimeter. This allows rivets to be machined to tight dimensional tolerances. The automation also avoids variances between manual operators.
- Consistency: Once the machining operations are programmed, CNC automation performs them the same way on every part. This results in every rivet coming out identical. Manual processes are far more inconsistent.
- Complex geometries: CNC programming can create rivet heads with complex shapes that would be infeasible to form manually. Countersunk and brazier heads are common examples.
- Surface finish: The computer-controlled cutting on CNC machines creates a very uniform surface texture devoid of tooling marks. It also avoids scratches or dents from manual handling.
- Material versatility: CNC machines can work with virtually any rivet materials from soft aluminum to ultra-hardened steel alloys. The automated processes apply optimized parameters for each material.
- High volume production: Rivets are often needed in very large quantities which can be achieved efficiently through flexible CNC automation. Long unattended production runs are possible.
- Automated inspection: In-process inspection checks done automatically by the CNC machine ensure any out-of-tolerance rivets are immediately rejected before completion.
CNC Machining Processes for Rivets
The two most common CNC processes used for rivet production are CNC turning and CNC milling. Here is an overview of how each one works:
CNC Turning:
- A cylindrical rivet blank is fed into the chuck of a CNC lathe. The material sticks out from the chuck.
- Rotating cutting tools move in axes to precisely shape the outside surface of the rivet shank to the required diameter and finish.
- The rivet head is then formed using pre-programmed turning operations. Various cutters, dies, rolls or other forming tools create the desired head shape.
- Secondary operations like drilling internal holes or threading can also be completed on the CNC lathe.
- Quality checks are conducted and finished rivets are automatically sorted and collected.
CNC Milling:
- CNC mills start with a solid block of material fixed to the bed. Multiple axes of movement allow milling cutters to approach the material from any angle.
- The program guides the cutting tools to remove material and form the rivet shank and head profiles.
- Concave surfaces like countersunk rivet heads are created using ball end mills. Engraving tools add serration patterns or markings.
- Grooves or other sophisticated features can be added as needed for specialty rivets.
- Once machining is complete, the finished rivets are ejected and the next raw material blocks are indexed into place.
In summary, CNC machining is the superior manufacturing process for quality rivets thanks to its precision, repeatability, flexibility and automation capabilities. Tightly controlling all aspects of the machining process allows rivet specifications to be met consistently, ensuring the fasteners will perform as designed in the finished product. With attention to programming, tooling and quality control, manufacturers can rely on CNC-machined rivets for even the most demanding applications. CNC Milling