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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Doesn't anyone form rivets by hand? There was an article by the gunsmith guy in Shotgun News a few years ago where he showed pictures and told how to form rivets with a custom made punch that had a hemisphere milled out of the end to form the rivet head. I don't remember the exact procedure. Does anyone know of the article or have a link to it or whatever? I can't afford the expensive tools. I'll have to make them myself. That article would be a tremendous help. I remember he even recommended the size of the ball end mill to use to make the hemisphere in the end of the punch for forming AK rivets. Isn't Matthews his name?
Anyone have any other links about hand forming?
 

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Oh heck no. I use a rivet jig.
It's hard enough to keep everything lined up and held in place, I couldn't imagine trying to hand pound it.
 

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Modified bolt cutters ($20 at Harbor freight) for short rivets. Try to find a used shop vise for long rivets. No jigs needed. Finding a good strong shop vice or access will be the challenge for a reasonable cost. You use two backer/bucking plates in the vise and a cheater bar to crush the long rivets.

Trying to beat and shape rivets., pretty crude., not really much there., maybe in 12004 that was sorta the way to go.
 

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i hand pound all my long rivets with hand tools. center supports too and feedramp ones....
the 20 ton just seems to squish stuff instead of riveting.
 

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I used to build sheet metal fittings for furnace installations years ago, and I would sometimes use rivits like the ones used in AK's. It required an anvil, and a rivet set tool. Basically a short chisel with a flat bottom, it had a hole that the tail of the rivet fit through to seat the two pieces of metal and a dome shape cut into it to form the rivet head. I've also been thinking on a way to modify an air chisel to form rivits, Yeah, it kinda scares me too. :)
Dig through those boxes of rusty tools at flea markets and garage sales and you may find the one that will work. This one is for large rivits:
 

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It can be done, but it takes a long time and it sucks. a press with the proper head squashing tool is the way to go.
 

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You guys who have the skills to hand form- My hat is off to you!! I could never do it.
 

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Only time I used a hammer on a rivet was to purposely dent it to match other rivets.
 

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You guys who have the skills to hand form- My hat is off to you!! I could never do it.
This. I tried my luck on one of my first builds, and this was the result. I got cocky after the rear most rivet, and royally screwed up the forward one. I ended up re-riveting the rear trunnion when I acquired a proper jig.
 

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I used to do all my long rivets that way before I had the AK-builder jig. I took a large punch and used a drill bit to make a dimple in the with my drill press to form the rivet head. They come out nice if you take your time. I've done center supports like this too. I just use the biggest punch I have and take it slow. Make sure to keep something sturdy that won't move as a bucking bar.
 

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I've also been thinking on a way to modify an air chisel to form rivits, Yeah, it kinda scares me too.
Before i went to a hydraulic press we used an air chisel and some rivet sets from ATS. They worked ok but it was too easy to go off center or ring the receiver. You need 2 bruisers to do it, one to hold the receiver on the bucking bar and another to handle the chisel.
 

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I've used a 2# hammer and a rivet forming tool (metal punch with a hemisphere at one end) and a bucking bar in a vise. Obtained these parts from Boeing Surplus in Renton, WA - later sold them. Used to install a Polish underfolder and trunnion on a Maadi shortly after AWB sunset (I know, I know) - an aerospace machinist and Troy at InRange pronounced the rivets good! However - a LOT of work to do it with a hammer.

Use a jig, use a press, use the aforementioned tool fitted to an air hammer...
 

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I have hand formed long rivets before on my first two builds. I sold the guns and dont have pictures anymore, but i made a plate that was dimpled out of some scrap and a drill bit, rounded with a bur, then did the same with a grade 5 half inch bolt about six inches long, i just used a regular hammer and about 20 min of individual blows. it can be done and goes so slow with a light hammer than you can correct for anything usually.
 

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I tried taking 2 of the longer rivets and cutting them down ( almost in half ) and leaving a slant or 30 degree angle on them then invert one so they will crush and bypass each other just slightly in the rear block
 
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