Tag Archives: air compressor

First rivets

I decided to pull my first rivets.  I hand riveted the forward and rear tail spar and most of one elevator.

Here is the horizontal stabilizer from another angle.

Caroline was sympathetic about how much work pulling the rivets by hand was, so she let me get an air compressor!

The Harbor Freight air hydraulic riveter made quick work of the elevators and both are now almost complete.  I read the instruction manual for the riveter and was led to believe I needed to disassemble it and add oil.  Then the rivet gun didn’t work at all.   After searching the internet it seemed everyone who disregarded the instructions had no problem with the gun, but those who added oil had the same problem as me. Notice how the reviews on the Harbor Freight website are unusually hight–9 ratings for an average of 5/5 stars.  I bet these people didn’t disassemble it to add oil, or they just knew what they were doing :-)

While searching the internet for help, I found this amusing piece of advice about not adding oil.  Since this is a “hydraulic” riveter and not simply a pneumatic one, it is clear that oil is actually required in the riveter.  The trick is making sure you add it in the right place and not too much or too little or it won’t work correctly.  I now believe it comes ready to run right out of the box.

After spending 3 hours messing around and totally disassembling it, I realized I had added too much oil and was able to determine the correct amount.  I expect it to last the entire project now that I figured it out.  I operate it at ~45 psi and it is fantastic.  By tuning the pressure I can have the stem break off in one or two trigger pulls.  I prefer two.

Here I am demonstrating to Caroline how much harder the hand riveter is.  From the look on my face, it looks like I am right in the middle of the final stem-breaking squeeze.

Here are both of the mostly-completed elevators.