I am making three square hollow rings that are 3.5mm thick. I need
to drill them all in their four corners, and join them with rivets,
using tubing to separate them.I am deliberating on the cleanest
method to drill all the holes for precise joining.
I agree with the warning that they will get dented, or the rivet
will just bend and contract inside, if the rivet does not run through
solid material. You can get around this by using tiny tubing as your
rivet, which you can flare and flatten with minimal or no hammering.
As for drilling-- you do really need to use a drill press. I would
suggest you construct a little jig that you can attach (maybe with a
c-clamp) to the table of the drill press, with a corner that
determines the position of the piece for drilling so the holes will
all be the same. Extra care in set up will pay off in the looks and
ease of assembly-- you're talking about 12 matching holes, after all.
The wisest course with rivets is generally to drill all your holes
in the top piece; drill through that (use the top piece as a
template) into the other piece(s) in ONE spot, set that rivet; then
do the second; then all others. This prevents shifting that will make
holes not line up. But since you are inserting spacers, you can't do
it this way. You can insert a wire to hold each one in alignment as
you drill the next, however.
The jig will only work if your multiple pieces are all very much the
same, and all 4 corners are very much the same. If you are starting
out wonky, you are better off with the gluing, and careful marking to
keep the orientation correct.
Be sure, also, that the spacers are filed very flat and square and
even in length.
Many pitfalls in what may have seemed a simple idea.