January 28, 2015
Here we are, at the end of January 2015 already! Time to get back on track with our monthly “What the Heck is that” series, where we discuss some of the unique fasteners and electronic hardware that manufacturers use in the design and assembly of their products. Today, our topic is Blind or “POP”® rivets.
A Blind rivet is a 2 part preassembled fastener that consists of a hollow tubular body with a head called the rivet, and a nail-like mandrel set inside the rivet that breaks off during installation. Blind rivets are often referred to as “Pop” rivets, because “POP”® is the brand name of the original blind rivet manufacturer. A cute fact is that “Pop” is the sound these rivets make during the assembly process.
Who uses Blind Rivets?
Blind rivets are all around us! They are typically used to assemble thin sheet metal (usually under 1″ thick) and are abundant in aircrafts. Unlike screws and nuts, which require access from both sides to join material, Blind rivets can be installed when you only have access to one side of the material being fastened. So you can see where the name “blind comes from!
What styles of Blind rivets are available?
The 4 most common rivets styles are:
1) Open End – the most widely used style, often referred to as break-stem.
2) Closed End – are used when water and vapor resistance are required.
3) Multigrip – can be used in varying material thickness, to deal with oversized holes, and to reduce inventory and replace unnecessary sizes.
4) Bulbex – commonly used in soft materials and fiberglass, this rivet distributes loads evenly and protects fragile materials.
Some other Blind rivet styles include Orlock, Peel and Structural.
What else do I need to consider when it comes to Blind Rivets?
Although all rivet styles don’t come in all sizes, materials and head styles, when selecting the proper rivet for your application, here are the main choices you will have to consider:
– Hole size or diameter of the rivet body.
– Grip range – the minimum and maximum thickness or “grip” of the material being fastened by the rivet. The grip range is NOT the length of the rivet body.
– Strength – The tensile strength (pull force before breaking) and shear strength (force to break a rivet from the side) required for an application must be determined to select the proper rivet.
– Material – Choose a rivet made of a metal with similar mechanical and physical properties as the materials being joined to reduce the risk of galvanic corrosion and material fatigue. The most common options are all aluminum, all steel, all stainless, aluminum rivet/steel mandrel and stainless steel rivet/steel mandrel.
– Head Style – Common styles are domed, large flange and flat head/countersunk.
“POP”® has a cool Blind rivet configurator (yes, they call it a configurator!) Check it out by clicking here:
Lesson Learned when it comes to Blind rivets:
- The 2 most popular brand name rivets offered are Pop/Avdel, owned by Stanley Black and Decker, and Marson, owned by Alcoa Fastening systems. Other common brands include Huck, Cherry and Gesipa. You can order by brand name or ask for generic alternatives.
- Rivet sizing can seem confusing but when you break it down it is quite simple. Rivets are generally referred to by their diameter and maximum grip range (i.e. 1/8 x 5/16 is a 1/8 hole diameter x 5/16 maximum grip or material thickness) with a call out for the material and the head style. Note: The rivet body length is not measured for sizing.
- You might also see rivets by the trade or brand part number, i.e. AD45ABS, AB4-5A. The first number (4) refers to the diameter of the rivet in 32nds of an inch (4/32=1/8). The second number (5) refers to the max grip size in 16th of inch (5/16=5/16).
- Rivets require an installation tool and cannot be installed manually.
- Check out this nifty video for more info: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aoXmzdSf_I
- Blind rivets adhere to IFI standard 114 Break mandrel rivets.
- Sizes available vary based on the style. The general diameter range is from 3/32 x 1/4 with grip ranges from .062-1-3/8.
- Blind Rivets at MF Supply
The full range of Blind rivet Brand names and generic equivalents.
- Custom made parts per print.
- For more detailed information on Blind rivets, visit us at
And if you don’t see it listed, as always, ask us. Finding the right screw for you is our tag line after all!