A couple of weeks ago there was a discussion about the pneumatic rivet gun supplied by Zenith as compared to one from Harbor Freight. I would like to know how you “cupped” the riveter heads in order to get the dome effect as called for in the plans. And once again, do you think the cheaper gun is worth while? Sorry to ask this but I’m new and don’t know how to access the archives.

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Comment by Ron Lendon on May 26, 2009 at 10:36pm
Tools to modify the noses pieces: 3/8 Drill motor, Bench Vice, Die Grinder, Acorn shaped carbide bit.

Make sure you have centered the nose piece in the chuck by spining it. Put some color on the nose piece before begining the grinding. It lets you see better where the tool bit touches. Start the drill motor and lock it on, start the die grinder and touch off in the center. Use a light touch and stop to see if it is really centered. If OK continue to shape untill it is about right, then test it.

Use emory cloth to finish the surface and remove the tool marks.

NOTE: If you go to deep you can take some off the end.

If you can cut the material with a file you won't need to heat it to remove the temper.

Pictures here: http://mykitlog.com/users/display_log.php?user=rlendon&project=113&category=1279&log=10097&row=46
Comment by Bob Pustell on May 26, 2009 at 9:46pm
Once you have the hollow in the tip formed to your satisfaction, you could re-harden the steel if you wanted to. It would most likely improve the durability. Heat them up to medium red hot (not bright red) and then quickly quench them in motor oil. If you really want to get fancy you can now put the final temper on them by heating them to 400 degrees (kitchen oven or toaster oven, but clean off the oil first!) for about 20 minutes or so and them quench them in water. That will give them about the same hardness as a knife blade. If you skip that last step they will be VERY hard and also, quite brittle.

Most likely, they would be fine just annealing them, shaping them and not bothering to re-harden them. I do not know what Zenith does at the factory. I have the Zenith provided gun and shaped tips.

I did clean up the factory shaped tips with a small round rotary grinder in a dremel tool, you could see and feel little ridges from the factory shaping job and it left little ridges on the formed rivit heads. Looks much better with smooth rivit heads.

Come to think of it, if it was that easy to clean up what the factory did, I doubt they re-hardened the steel.
Comment by Ron D Leclerc on May 26, 2009 at 8:58pm
Hey Robert...

I used a 3/8" bit in the drill press and set the head into my small vice and made the cup in that fashion. Had to heat the heads of the Harbour Freight type of gun as they a harder then the ones in the hand riveter. Used a propane torch and checked the head until I was able to get the cup formed just right... it worked great and forms the rivets just right. No big deal and easy to do!

Comment by Richard Vetterli on May 26, 2009 at 1:26pm
I sent the tips to Zenith. I got them back a few days later and the cost was nominal.
Comment by Chris Lewis on May 26, 2009 at 9:23am
Robert - I bought the HF unit and made my own "cupped" heads to properly dome the rivets. It was pretty easy to do. I bought the carbide ball end for my roary tool and then heated the riveter nose pieces with a MAPP gas torch to remove the temper. I then chucked up the two pieces and made the depression a little at a time,testing rivets now and then for the correct shape and then polished to get them smooth. It works great.

Chris in Seattle

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