Everything You Should Know About Rivet Nuts

Finding the perfect fastener for your project requires careful consideration. When working with thin or brittle materials, it can be challenging to find a fastening solution that works effectively. This is where rivet nuts come into play. Rivet nuts are a versatile and innovative method of fastening that has revolutionized the assembly process for various industries, including aerospace, automotive manufacturing, furniture, and consumer goods. In this article, we will delve deeper into rivet nuts, exploring everything you need to know, from their definition and applications to the different types available and their advantages.

What are Rivet Nuts?

Rivet nuts, also known as RIVNUTs®, were originally created by the BF Goodrich Company in the late 1930s. These components, alternatively referred to as blind rivet nuts or threaded inserts, are internally threaded and fully anchored on one side. Initially designed to secure deicing boots to aircraft wings, rivet nuts have evolved to offer various forms and types suitable for different fastening applications.

Derived from standard rivets, rivet nuts are used in conjunction with standard-sized bolts. They can have round, square, splined, or hexagonal bodies. As a blind fastener, rivet nuts are ideal for applications where only one side of the workpiece is easily accessible. This feature makes rivet nuts one of the most versatile fastening devices available.

How do Rivet Nuts Work?

Similar to regular rivets, rivet nuts are inserted into a workpiece to fasten multiple materials together. The key difference between a rivet and a rivet nut lies in the fact that the latter is only punched into a single piece of material, leaving the other materials to be joined unaffected. Once the rivet nut is installed, the remaining materials can be fastened using an externally threaded fastener, such as a bolt. It’s a straightforward process that offers great versatility. Some even argue that rivet nuts are easier to use and more efficient at joining materials compared to self-tapping screws or pressed inserts.

How to Install Rivet Nuts?

Installing a rivet nut requires a drill, an appropriately sized drill bit, and a rivet nut tool. The process involves following these simple steps:

  1. Drill a pilot hole in the workpiece with the same diameter as the rivet nut.
  2. Thread the rivet nut onto the mandrel of the rivet nut tool until it is flush.
  3. Pull the opposite end of the mandrel as far back as possible and adjust the adjuster to make contact.
  4. Insert the rivet nut into the drilled pilot hole and use the rivet gun to squeeze the handles until it stops.
  5. Unscrew the mandrel from the rivet nut to remove the rivet nut tool.

Take care not to apply excessive force during the installation process, as this can damage the internal threads of the rivet nut.

When are Rivet Nuts Used?

Rivet nuts are suitable for fastening a wide range of materials, including various metals, plastics, fiberglass, and carbon fiber. Like regular rivets, rivet nuts are blind fasteners, meaning that only one side of the workpiece is visible during installation. While the rivet nut remains permanently fixed to the material it is attached to, materials connected to the rivet nut through a bolt, pin, or other devices can be easily removed.

Due to their lightweight nature, compact size, and ease of installation, rivet nuts are commonly used in applications where weight reduction is crucial, such as aerospace and automotive industries. Additionally, rivet nuts offer high shear and tensile strengths, making them ideal for load-bearing applications. This versatility makes them popular in furniture manufacturing, certain consumer goods, and electronics. Apart from weight reduction and load-bearing capabilities, rivet nuts can also help manufacturers reduce costs through faster assembly. Rivet nut installation can even be automated using 6-axis robots or other automotive processes.

Different Types of Rivet Nuts

Rivet Nuts

  • Round Rivet Nuts: Designed for circular holes, these nuts feature a smooth or knurled surface on the shank. Knurled surfaces provide enhanced spin-out resistance by gripping the installation material. Round rivet nuts can have open or closed ends, with closed-ended ones acting as a barrier against liquids or particles entering the blind side of the installation material.
  • Hexagonal Rivet Nuts: These rivet nuts are suitable for hexagonal-shaped holes. Similar to round rivet nuts, they offer excellent spin-out resistance and are often used in applications that require high load-bearing capabilities.
  • Slotted Rivet Nuts: Slotted rivet nuts come with slots cut into the shank of the rivet nut body. They are often pre-bulbed for a secure grip and easier installation. Slotted rivet nuts provide an extensive grip range that is ideal for fastening materials of varying thicknesses.
  • Floating Rivet Nuts: Floating rivet nuts allow for flexible fastening of workpieces. These nuts offer room for the internal thread to be positioned at different angles, providing flexibility in bolt installation.
  • Rivet Nut Studs: Composed of two pieces, rivet nut studs consist of the rivet nut and an externally threaded stud. The presence of the stud allows for the use of conventional fasteners, such as standard hex nuts, on the threaded stud.

Final Thoughts

Finding the right fastener for your project doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Rivet nuts offer an innovative and versatile method of fastening that can rival traditional approaches involving bolts or welds. With their straightforward installation process, exceptional tensile and shear strengths, and their contribution to the functionality of everyday goods and transportation, rivet nuts are a reliable and cost-effective choice. Reach out to an Albany County Fasteners sales representative today to discover which rivet nut best suits your project requirements.

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