Uses for Rivets in CNC Machining(t6 vs t651 Betsy)

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Rivets are a crucial component in many CNC machined parts and products. Here is an overview of some of the main uses for rivets in CNC machining:
Aircraft and Aerospace Applications
The aerospace industry relies heavily on rivets to assemble airplane fuselages, wings, and other components. Rivets are appreciated for their lightweight yet strong joining capabilities. CNC machining is used to drill the precise rivet holes and cutouts in metal aircraft sections before they are riveted together. Riveting also allows for repairs and modifications over an airplane's service life. Common aircraft rivets include solid and blind rivets made from aluminum, steel, titanium, or specialty alloys.
Other Transportation Uses
Beyond aerospace, rivets are ubiquitous in vehicles, ships, railcars, and more. CNC machining automates the drilling and cutting required to rivet together frames, chassis, body panels, and other structural and exterior components. Riveting is advantageous because it creates smooth exterior surfaces while allowing interior access for maintenance. Robotic CNC riveting workcells can assemble high-volume automotive parts.
Metal Fabrication
Sheet metal fabrication relies on rivets to join parts too thick for welding. CNC punch presses and lasers cut holes and notches in sheet metal components like brackets, enclosures, and covers. Then CNC machining centers drill holes for rivet placement. Riveting assembles the metal fabrication while minimizing distortion and leaving a smooth exterior finish. Pop rivets are popular for lower-strength applications.
Piping, Plumbing, and HVAC Systems
Behind the walls, rivets join together pipes, ducts, vents, and more. CNC machining punches or drills holes in pipes and fittings so they can be riveted for a strong sealed connection. This avoids the need for welding or gluing pipe joints. Stainless steel and copper rivets withstand temperature extremes, pressure, and corrosion in plumbing and HVAC systems.
Electronic Enclosures and Devices
Electronics often need strong, non-conductive fasteners. Nylon and plastic rivets assembled using CNC machining are common in consumer products, computers, medical devices, industrial controls, and military equipment. The rivets provide mechanical strength to connect the exterior case while avoiding electrical interference. Plastic rivets also reduce weight compared to metal fasteners.
Temporary Fasteners
Some rivets are designed to be temporary fasteners that can be removed and reinserted as needed during product assembly, maintenance, upgrades or repair. CNC machining provides the precision needed to drill holes and set these specialty removable rivets. Examples include modular office furniture, stage equipment, and scientific instrumentation.
High Security and Tamper-Resistant Applications
The unique head shape of specialty rivets makes them difficult to remove without the proper tools. These security rivets are installed in products like bank ATMs, lottery ticket vending machines, parking meters, and prison door hinges using CNC machining. The rivets join the products securely while deterring unauthorized access and theft.
Underwater and Offshore Uses
Stainless steel rivets withstand corrosive ocean environments on ships, docks, oil platforms, and more. CNC machining enables mass production of offshore rivets according to blueprint specifications. The cold riveting process is also advantageous for underwater construction and repair.
Nuclear and Power Generation
Blind rivets made from nickel alloys allow riveted repairs inside nuclear reactors and boilers without access to the rear. CNC machining provides the precision hole boring and rivet setting needed in these critical high-temperature, high-pressure applications. Rivets also assemble geothermal, wind turbine, and solar power components.
Construction and Civil Engineering
Countless bridges, towers, cranes, platforms, rails, dams, and other structures rely on rivets. CNC machining enables mass production of rivets to blueprint requirements for each application. Large structural rivets can measure over one inch in diameter and grip over a dozen layers of structural steel.
Spacecraft and Satellites
In the zero-gravity environment of space, fasteners like bolts can vibrate loose. Rivets provide a permanent assembly solution. CNC machining machines aluminum and titanium aircraft rivets before they are set by hand or pneumatic guns during spacecraft assembly. Riveting remains the fastening method of choice for satellites and launch vehicles.
One of the benefits of rivets is their wide scalability. CNC machining can produce rivets smaller than 1/16” up to over 1” in diameter in all different head styles, materials, finishes and strengths. This allows designers to select the optimal rivet size and type for each application and assembly.
Automated Production
CNC machining enables automated, high-volume rivet production at tight tolerances. Transfer machines can cold form rivet blanks at over 500 rivets per minute. CNC machines then cut the rivet head profiles and shanks and add surface finishes. This makes rivets cost-effective consumable items in mass production.
Custom Design Options
While standard rivets suit most applications, CNC machining also facilitates custom rivet designs. This includes unique shapes, materials like polymers, exotic alloys or composites, special coatings and finishes, and application-specific performance properties.
In summary, rivets serve countless critical uses in CNC manufacturing. Riveting assembles strong, permanent, and tamper-resistant joints in everything from aircraft and electronics to offshore platforms and plumbing systems. CNC machining provides the automation needed for high-volume rivet production as well as precision hole boring and setting during assembly. Looking forward, rivets will continue playing a key role in manufactured products and structures. CNC Milling