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Riveting with copper wire


#1

I am trying to make rivets with copper wire I get from the hardware
store. It’s not a large diameter. Is there a diameter of wire that is
too small touse for rivets? My wire is just either bending or
dropping down thru the vise and not forming a head at all. I do not
have it into a metal piece but I am riveting one end to put into a
piece and bending the wire. I am playing with scrabble disks for some
kid nieces and only riveting one end. Maybe this is my problem,
nothing to hammer ‘into’.

I am watching youtubevideos on how to rivet but I am open to
suggestions from this group, ths brenda


#2
I am trying to make rivets with copper wire I get from the
hardware store. It's not a large diameter. Is there a diameter of
wire that is too small touse for rivets? My wire is just either
bending or dropping down thru the vise and not forming a head at
all. I do not have it into a metal piece but I am riveting one end
to put into a piece and bending the wire. I am playing with
scrabble disks for some kid nieces and only riveting one end. Maybe
this is my problem, nothing to hammer 'into'. 

A bit more specificity would be good.

How large exactly is “not large diameter?” (If you don’t have a
spring gauge or a decent vernier caliper go get them, they are
critical tools.)

In order to form a head the rivet wire needs to be both supported
from underneath and constrained circumferentially, else the wire will
bend rather than be upset.

Also, what is a scrabble disk? I’ve only seen rectangular tiles in
Scrabble.

Elliot Nesterman


#3

Brenda- basically your rivet wire should be a close fit within the
holes in the pieces you are riveting. That way the rivet wire is
laterally supported and less likely to bend. Use many light taps to
upset the ends of the wire, as heavy strikes are more apt to bend the
wire. Counter sink the holes slightly to help form a head. The rivet
wire should be just long enough to form a head; if it is too long it
will tend to bend.

DD


#4

Not sure I entirely understand, but it sounds like your wire is too
light a gauge. Try a heavy craft wire (not coated) about 16 g. If
you are riveting the tiles to each other. If you have work hardened
the wire you have and it still bends after driving it through the
tile, you definitely need heavier wire. The metal has little to do
with it, though brass is usually used for riveting, copper is
acceptable too. Aluminium tends to get brittle with work hardening
and bends far too easily (,and is incompatible with some metal clays)
If you are riveting a piece to another piece of metal consider the
strength that has to hold the two objects in the position as you
designed them (a bracelet for instance); if the whole thing is
moving, your wire is too lightweight. You can buy riveting wire
sometimes sold in plastic tubes in hardware stores and from vendors
that sell jewellery supplies. It is intended to fit inside of a tube
rivet and corresponds to the inside diameter of the tube (any tubing
can be cut to make a rivet that will last).Seamless tubing has its
own intrinsic strength and the riveting process is a method of cold
connecting two parts- you can use sterling tubing if its all you have
but measure the tubing and select the wire that is the closest to the
inside diameter of the tubing (most catalogues from jewellery
suppliers have a chart in the appendix correlating insert wire sizes
to lightweight tubing outside diameters).The mixed metal effect
appeals to many people: you can use a dissimilar insert wire to
make/close the rivet. However from what I gathered you are going
through wood, no? so you will need a wire that supports the weight of
the tiles. I would recommend using a tube rivet or balling the wire
as long as the wire is very close to the size of the hole you are
drilling in the tiles to connect them- unless I am not understanding
what you are trying to do.

Next time, please give Orchid more details like size wire you have,
what you are connecting x to and so on- it’s hard to answer when we
haven’t all the about your workpiece…rer Bottom line:
Yes, your wire is too light!


#5

I mean scrabble tiles. I want to rivet one end of the wire, insert
into the tile and bend into a bail to hang. This is for children so
I am not going to put much expense into it. Also a way for me to
practice.

I have seen online youtube videos of a wire simply inserted into a
vise and hanging freely below, and the top riveted. Right now I
can’t find that video I saw.

So, if I want to make a rivet on one end, say to insert into a tight
place like the back of a ring through to the top to place on a
mandrel, how would I rivet just one end?

My wire is 16 gauge copper from the hardware store.

brenda


#6

Brenda- basically your rivet wire should be a close fit within the
holes in the pieces you are riveting. That way the rivet wire is
laterally supported and less likely to bend. Use many light taps to
upset the ends of the wire, as heavy strikes are more apt to bend
the wire. Counter sink the holes slightly to help form a head. The
rivet wire should be just long enough to form a head; if it is too
long it will tend to bend.

DD


#7

First a bit of nomenclature. A rivet is the entire fastener, not
just the upset head or tail. For your Scrabble tile project you are
not making rivets, you are making head pins.

If you were working in a fire-friendly metal like silver or gold I’d
say first melt a ball on the end of the wire then form the head by
forging while well supported, by placing it in a hole in a drawplate
or something similar. Copper isn’t too happy in the fire, however.
What you need is something to clamp the shaft while you are forming
the head.

I’d get a pair of cheap, Chinese knock-off locking pliers and file
two opposing slots into the jaws, so that the resulting channel, when
clamped tight, is just large enough to admit the wire but small
enough that it is held fast while you are upsetting the head. You can
then support the pliers on top of a vise.

If you want to form a perfect, round head you’ll need a rivet set or
similar tool. Or you could leave the hammer marks. If you finish the
head with a polished hammer you can get a nice planished look. Be
careful, though, the steel jaws of the locking pliers will ding the
polished edge of the hammer face.

Elliot Nesterman


#8

Hello Brenda,

I can’t quite understand what you are trying to do with the rivet.

Perhaps you don’t really mean ‘rivet’? Rivets are commonly used to
connect two flat sheets of metal together (for example, the sheets of
metal forming the hull of a ship) without the bother of screwing the
nut on the bolt and without the need for welding (heat).

I cannot visualize “make a rivet on one end, say to insert into a
tight place like the back of a ring through to the top to place on a
mandrel.”

If I wanted to hang Scrabble tiles, I would drill a hole through the
tile and either: put a jump ring through the hole, or put a head pin
through the hole and form an ‘eye’ with the wire.

Alternatively, I’d drill a hole a few mm into the side of a tile and
using a wire gauge that very snugly fits the hole, epoxy a length of
wire into the hole, and form an ‘eye’ with the wire sticking out of
the tile.

I apologize for seeming obtuse, and hope your solution will be found
soon.

Judy in Kansas, where a lovely, gentle rain has been falling all
day.

Sigh. So pleasant.


#9

I stand corrected. I am not making rivets I am making head pins. Now
I understand why I was confusing and why balling the end was
suggested. Thank you all for teaching me. I am always learning here.
brenda


#10
If you were working with a fire friendly metal like silver.....
copper isn't too happy in the fire.. 

before this weekend, i might have assumed that true. however this
weekend i balled up 12 ga copper wire quite sucessfully. they made
nice rivets.

i did use the mighty mouse oxy/acetylene torch with it’s pinoint
super hot flame.

oxidation came off real easy.

steve