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Rivets and Rivet Nuts: A Comprehensive Guide

In the vast world of fasteners, rivets and rivet nuts play pivotal roles in construction, manufacturing, and various DIY projects. These small yet mighty components have been instrumental in building everything from airplanes and skyscrapers to simple household items. This blog post delves into what rivets and rivet nuts are, their types, applications, and some insights on how to use them effectively.

What Are Rivets?

Rivets are permanent mechanical fasteners that consist of a smooth cylindrical shaft with a head on one end. Upon installation, the tail end of the rivet is deformed, creating a second head to clamp materials together. This process requires access to both sides of the materials being joined, making rivets an ideal choice for situations where high strength and reliability are paramount.

Types of Rivets

  • Solid Rivets: The oldest and simplest type, solid rivets are used in applications requiring reliability and structural integrity, such as in the aerospace and automotive industries.
  • Pop Rivets (Blind Rivets): These are used when access to the joint is only available from one side. Pop rivets are popular in construction and repair work.
  • Tubular Rivets: Tubular rivets have a hollow shaft and are used in applications where less strength is required, such as in the assembly of household appliances.

What Are Rivet Nuts?

Rivet nuts, also known as threaded inserts, provide a threaded hole in a thin sheet of material. They are similar to rivets in their installation process but are designed to accept bolts or screws, offering a removable and reusable thread source. Rivet nuts are perfect for materials that are too thin to accommodate a tapped thread, expanding the possibilities for attaching components with ease.

Types of Rivet Nuts

  • Standard Rivet Nuts: These provide a reliable thread in thin materials and are available in various sizes and materials.
  • Countersunk Rivet Nuts: Designed to sit flush with the surface of the material, offering a neat finish.
  • Rubber-Nut Rivet Nuts: Made from rubber with a brass nut embedded inside, these rivet nuts can be used to fasten items to soft materials or for applications requiring some level of vibration damping.


Rivets and rivet nuts are used in a wide array of applications. Rivets are commonly found in the aerospace industry, structural engineering, and in the construction of bridges and buildings. They offer a permanent solution where high strength and durability are required. Rivet nuts, on the other hand, are used in situations where disassembly is necessary, such as in the automotive industry for attaching accessories, in electronics for mounting components, and in metal fabrication for creating strong, reusable threads.

Installation Insights

Installing Rivets

  1. Prepare the Materials: Ensure that the materials to be joined are clean, aligned, and pre-drilled with a hole slightly larger than the rivet diameter.
  2. Insert the Rivet: Place the rivet in the hole and use a rivet gun to pull the mandrel, causing the tail to expand and clamp the materials together.

Installing Rivet Nuts

  1. Pre-drill the Material: Similar to rivets, start with a pre-drilled hole that matches the size of the rivet nut.
  2. Insert the Rivet Nut: Use a rivet nut tool to insert the rivet nut into the hole. The tool pulls the body of the rivet nut, expanding it and securely fastening it to the material.


Rivets and rivet nuts are indispensable tools in the fastener industry, offering robust solutions for permanent and removable joints, respectively. Understanding the types and applications of these fasteners can significantly enhance the quality and efficiency of construction and manufacturing projects. Whether you’re a professional engineer or a DIY enthusiast, mastering the use of rivets and rivet nuts can open up new possibilities in your projects, ensuring durability and strength in every connection.

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Allied Bolt and Screw Corporation, a Small Business incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by Richard ‘Dick’ Goldberg, has been building strong relationships since 1961 with an expansive quality inventory, exceptional service and highly valued customer appreciation. Allied stocks Rivets and Rivet Nuts and thousands other products. Contact Us for more information.