Started on the wings today, 26Jan10, and struggled for hours to remove any solid rivets and I have the tools. So I searched the Internet and found "Removing Solid Rivets" by Gil Alexander – EAA Technical Counselor.

It works really well on the big solid rivets. I drilled with a #20, but not as deep as he recommended and used the Riveting Hammer to punch out the rivet. I have a cinder block backed by wood up against the Spar acting as a bucking bar. I lean against the cinder block with my chest and reach over and insert a 5/32" punch and tap out with the Riveting Hammer. There is a minimum depth to ensure easy removal. The biggest problem is the layers separating and binding the rivet.

A look at the rivets.

In hindsight, I should have drilled out every other rivet head to minimize layer separation. A 3/16" bolt/screw works to fill the hole after rivet removal. Then I can remove the remaining rivets. The next wing will be much easier. I think it is possible to drill out the tail of the rivet and push out the head on those rivets buried next to a rear rib.

That's my story

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Comment by Jacob on January 30, 2010 at 9:06pm
That Navy method is a great example. I was taught to do step 3 before step 2 because you are drilling from exact center flush with the skin not from the top of the rivet. Unless you can consistently drill dead from the top of the rivet head chances are you will be slightly off center by the time the drill bit passes through the skin or structure your drilling though. Note: always do step 3 and remove the tail first if you are coming from the tail side as a rivet tail is never normally exactly central !. Forgetting rivet tails, sometimes though the navy method works better if you have to drill though a skin etc because if you knock the heads off first it will cause the skin to pucker making it difficult to drill though to the next layer if your not able to remove it. Another good tip is to alway use a smaller diameter punch than the hole you are inserting it in because it allows the rivet to cave in as you punch it out reducing the force required to punch out the rivet quite dramatically. Finally if you fell as though your belting the crap out of the rivet and it just wont move sometimes you just need to drill the little bit deeper to make all the difference. Bottom line: do it the way you feel most comfortable and most likely it will be the more successful method . Hope this helps. Good luck!
Comment by Greg Browning on January 27, 2010 at 8:24pm
I used the same method matt did and it worked great! I to had the same problem with seperation till i started using a few bolts and clamps to stop it.... The air hammer and punch is a blessing. The only problem i had with the air hammer and punch was letting off the trigger in time to prevent the taper of the punch from alongateing the hole when it broke through. Once i did a few it wasnt no big deal. Good Luck
Comment by Jake Reyna on January 27, 2010 at 2:52pm
Looks like my problem was that I wasn't doing Mike or Matt's way, or any other way that actually worked.
Comment by Mike Armstead on January 27, 2010 at 12:30pm
This is the best way I have found. Even the tight ones come out pretty easy. No clamping is necessary. It is also easier to drill the rivets with the wing on it's nose. If you don't have any saw horses you could just attact a couple of 2X4's to your table and let them stick over the edge a foot or so and then just roll the wing out onto them with the nose down.
Remove the nose skin.
Remove the rivet head.
Drill a 3/32 pilot head about 2/3 way through.
Drill it out to 1/8.
Stand the wing up on it's nose on 2 sawhorses.
Cut a 2X4 that will reach from the floor up to the bottom of the spar.
Drill a 3/8" hole in the end of the 2X4 a couple of inches deep.
Place the 2X4 with the 3/8 hole over the head of the rivet you wish to remove.
It will now drive out easily with a 1/8 punch and hammer.

This worked really well for me. The hammer blows go down through the 2X4 and not
out into the wing.

Comment by Matt Archer on January 27, 2010 at 10:17am
I removed some from the tail. Just need to be careful with the center. I drilled down partially then knocked off the head. Then centered the drill and pushed in. I used a bucking bar against the sides and got some of the tough ones out. I got a 5/16 knock out punch for my rivet gun from the Yard Store. This is really worked well.,290.html

Good luch

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