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Discussion Starter #1
Anyone ever use a pneumatic rivet hammer? I have air tools and a good sized compressor. A normal air hammer is supposed to be too hardcore for rivets. Although I've seen one guy post that he uses one. Air hammers specifically built for riveting - like in the aircraft industry - aren't too expensive. And I assume are very delicate tools considering the soft nature of aircraft skin. I have one listed below for around $100. Just wondering as I am pretty good with an air hammer (like that takes alot of skill!). Thought maybe if you used a sheet metal shield to go around the rivet to protect the receiver surface it might work. I may test it out.

I will try to use the air hammer to brake off rivet heads. The same guy that rivets with an air hammer on here also cuts off rivet heads with it for demiling. I'm sure that will work slick. I've cut off bolt heads with it before and it's super fast.

There are a ton of companies that sell riveting heads for air hammers the right size for AK rivets. I've posted two of the better ones below. Even for $8 just the tooling is pretty slick.

The last link below lists a rivet gun with a "metered teasing throttle". It looks like maybe it's a cheap inline fitting that regulates how much air goes to the hammer so you could adjust how hard it hits? If so I wonder if that would make a normal air hammer softer and work for AK building? An air hammer from HF can cost as little as $5-$10.

$7.75 rivet tool:

http://www.ustool.com/usstore.asp?WCI=w ... WCE=89206s

Tons of awesome riveting tools - note there are 3 pages:

http://www.aircraftspruce.co.uk/menus/t ... .html?pg=1

$100 air rivet hammer:

http://www.aircraftspruce.co.uk/catalog ... un2602.php

Check out the fitting on the bottom of this rivet hammer:

http://www.aircraftspruce.co.uk/catalog ... ammers.php
 

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I use an air hammer to do alot of the build. I like to use tools I already have and was an auto tech for several years hence my air hammer. As far as forming nice rivets with an air hammer I tried and tried but couldn't. It can be done but a jig would have to be built to hold the hammer square to the receiver/rivet. I originally had intentions of pulling the barrel inserting rivets (backwards) into the trunnion then pressing the barrel back in and using the barrel as a bucking bar then just forming my rivets with the hammer. It worked, but the rivet heads were not very pretty so I bought a pair of bolt cutters and modified them and have been using that same pair of bolt cutters to form all my "primo" looking rivets.
On about 8 of my builds I used an air hammer and a chisel bit that I modified with a ball end mill in a drill press, looks just like the one for 8 bucks on the link you provided. I used this setup to do my rear trunnion rivets and they looked great but the anal side of my saw the flaws so I bought a rear rivet jig from restorit. The 100 dollar air hammer you linked to can be bought at harbor freight for less than 20 bucks and will provide sufficent force to form rivets.

All I use my air hammer for now is to remove and install barrel pins (works great), smash trigger guard rivets (I have a press now and still use the hammer) and demilling kits down. I have used it on stubborn barrels that would not come out pre owning a press. All in all its a great tool to have when building AK's. I even use it on stubborn wood buttstocks stuck in receiver stubs/rear trunnions. The Akbuilder jigs for rivets are great tools but there are other tools out there that equal if not out perform that tool and cost much less which to me means more kits and less tools.

As far as the valve on the one air hammer. On any air tool you can buy an air metering valve for less then 20 dollars again but on a decent hammer its not needed as the triggers are variable. Hope this has helped. McM
 

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Like motorcityman, I use my air hammer a great deal on builds and de-mils. Ive got a great many attachments/tips to chuck up in it that do a variety of tasks. Some of these include.

Chisel off rivets on receiver stub.
Remove barrel pin/re-install.
Remove barrel from trunion/re-install.
Trigger guard rivets.
Straigten gas block, or front sight base (once pins are removed.)


I also saw the value and function of this tool while doing automotive work. Right up there with the "best tool for the money" situations. I woudnt try doing front, or rear trunnion rivets with it either though. I use a modified bolt cutter for the front trunion and a press for the rear trunion and center support. that about sums up an ak build!

You can find them for under 20 bucks at a harbor freight with attachments. Variable speed/force too!
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Motor/AZgun - Thanks for chiming in. Good tips. I love my air hammer too. One of those "I can't believe it has done so much for me for so little money!" tools. If I had not seen Motor's post about his use of it with building his AK's I would not have thought of it.

"The 100 dollar air hammer you linked to can be bought at harbor freight for less than 20 bucks and will provide sufficent force to form rivets."

I couldn't find the same air hammer on HF. But I don't think I will actually buy another air hammer to try it anyway.

According to the aircraft hobby sites I was reading, the issue wasn't so much about "sufficient force", as it was about providing to much force. All the aircraft hobby articles were saying the only reason the rivet air hammers existed and were more expensive was that a normal air hammer is to harsh for doing rivets. And that the "rivet air hammers" were sufficiently easier on the rivets.

I completely agree with you about having to build a jig for the receiver/airhammer to get the whole thing held in place and going exactly straight vertically - to get it to work anyway. Additionally I would be curious as to how you could get the hammering to stop right at the point of the head meeting the sheet metal. I'd think it would be hard not to dimple the sheet metal around the newly formed rivet head.

Anyway, it would be cool if a $7 air hammer worked though huh? :) Even a $100 one would be great. But I think you'd have to have a jig or be really really skilled to do it.
 

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they have guides for button head rivits that will keep you from messing up the rivit head.

a shop press is alot easier to use than an airhammer and shop press!!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
heartbreakridge01 said:
they have guides for button head rivits that will keep you from messing up the rivit head.


Do you know what they are called? Or what industry uses them?
 

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no I dont know what its called but i know a guy at work that has one, aircraft industry, he is a contractor for the US Navy, basically its a ram inside of a sleeve type tool, it keeps your cup from bouncing off the rivit head as the air hammer is working.

ill ask him next week. he is going to hot dimple my aksu receivers for me once i get them back from being parked.
 

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My first few ak builds were done mainly with an $20 air hammer from Home Depot and a rivet 'set' kit from aircraft supply. I started into kit building with a couple of M1919a4s, so that's what I had. I could get some really nice rivet heads with the air hammer, but it took a lot of practice and wasn't very "repeateable", meaning I couldn't guarantee getting a good head every time. I found you really had to secure the part well and back the other end of the rivet secure or the rivet would back out some before it began to set. I also had my best luck at around 60psi, much more than that and it was too hard to control.
I don't use air hammers for anything except for M1919s any more, all my ak building is done on home-built jigs.
 
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