Introduction(7075 vs 6061 aluminum Thomas)

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Rivets are a crucial fastening technology used in many CNC manufacturing applications. As one of the oldest forms of mechanical fasteners, rivets continue to be a versatile and cost-effective option for assembling components and structures made from metal, plastic, and other materials. With the precision and automation capabilities of computer numerical control (CNC) machines, rivets can be installed quickly and reliably in high volumes. This article will provide an overview of rivet types and their common uses in CNC manufacturing.
What are Rivets?
A rivet is a permanent mechanical fastener that consists of two main parts - a smooth cylindrical shaft and a head. The rivet shaft is inserted into pre-drilled holes in the materials being joined. The excess shaft is then flattened into another head with force applied by a riveting hammer, press or other specialized CNC machinery. This process deforms the rivet and creates a solid rivet head on each side, firmly clamping the materials together.
Rivets come in several materials, with aluminum, steel, copper and Monel (a nickel-copper alloy) being most common in CNC applications. They are also available in a range of diameters, lengths and head styles to accommodate different material stacks and assembly requirements. When installed properly, the resultant joint is permanent and can handle shearing, tension and vibration forces.
Advantages of Rivets in CNC
There are several key advantages that make rivets a popular choice for CNC joining operations:
- Speed - Rivet installation is extremely fast, especially with automated riveting systems. CNC machines can insert hundreds of rivets per minute.
- Strength - The deformation process work-hardens the rivet, creating a very strong joint. Rivets do not loosen over time.
- Permanence - Unlike screws, rivets cannot unintentionally come apart. This makes them ideal for components that should never disassemble.
- Minimal Hardware - Rivets themselves take the place of nuts, bolts, washers and other separate fastener hardware. This simplifies bills of materials.
- Material Versatility - Rivets can join dissimilar materials like metals to plastics. Special rivet types expand application possibilities.
- Automation - CNC automation makes riveting ideal for large production runs where consistency and speed are paramount.
Common CNC Riveting Applications
Owing to their versatility, rivets are used in a diverse array of manufacturing contexts. Here are some of the most prevalent riveting uses in CNC:
Aircraft Assembly - Rivets are the quintessential fastener of aircraft construction. CNC riveting systems install thousands of rivets to assemble airplane fuselages, wings, skins and other components. Riveting ensures structural integrity under extreme conditions.
Metal Enclosures & Frames - Electronics enclosures, equipment housings, trailer/vehicle frames and similar metal fabrications are routinely riveted together on CNC lines. Stainless steel rivets provide corrosion resistance.
Plastics - CNC helps overcome challenges of joining dissimilar materials like plastics and metals for products like machinery guards, medical devices and recreational products. Special plastic rivets are also available.
Sheet Metal Parts - Stamped or machined metal components are riveted into subassemblies and end products like HVAC ducting, shelving, automobile parts, machinery etc. Automotive panels are hemmed with self-piercing rivets.
Signage & Decor - CNC riveting affixes plastic letters, logos and decorative metal parts onto signage, wall décor, point-of-purchase displays and art installations. Colored head rivets can match base materials.
Appliances - The outer shells of appliances rely on CNC riveting for high-speed joining of sheet metal skins to encase insulation and other interior components. Automation ensures consistency.
Common Rivet Types for CNC
CNC machines can install the full range of standard and specialty rivet types, giving manufacturers immense flexibility. Common examples include:
- Solid/Blind Rivets - Most universal type, with a solid shaft and domed head. Used for basic sheet metal joining.
- Self-Piercing Rivets - Has chisel point that punches through stacked sheets without pre-drilling. Makes for quicker installation.
- Structural Rivets - Extra large rivets that can join thick stackups of steel/aluminum structural components. High shear/tensile strength.
- Drive Rivets - Flat-head rivets that sit flush on part surface. Used when low profile is needed.
- Split Rivets - Shaft splits during installation to fill hole and maximize grip. Eliminates leak paths.
- Large Flange Rivets - Provides wider clamping force footprint for joining thin sheets prone to warping/distortion.
- Multi-Grip Rivets - Single rivet length grips wide range of material stackups. Reduces inventory requirements.
- Specialty Rivets - CNC applies unique designs like tubular, blind-stitch, peel, clinch, breakstem and interlocking rivets for niche applications.
In summary, rivets continue to be a versatile, strong, permanent and cost-effective fastening solution for a huge range of CNC manufacturing uses across industries. CNC automation allows rivets to be installed precisely, reliably and at high volumes in components and products of all types. The abundance of rivet materials, types and sizes provides manufacturers great flexibility in selecting the optimal rivets to assemble their particular products. Riveting will continue growing as a proven CNC joining technique for assemblies and end-use parts. CNC Milling