Making Rivets by the Buttload

by Scott Conner

IPMS Great Plains

Let me start off by saying I did not invent this method. Nor have I perfected this method. What I have done is, I think, figured out where the errors occur and corrected them.

The method starts off by finding out what size rivet you want by finding a drill bit that is the size you want your rivets to be. I found that the smallest Grant Line round head rivet was too large for what I needed and the smaller cone shaped rivets were not the correct shape. Place your drill bit in a pinvise backward. Leave about 1/4" sticking out. Make sure it is flat on the bottom, if not; file carefully until it is.

Next, find some thin styrene, I believe I used .10. The idea is to punch the inverted drill through the styrene creating perfect little rivets the exact size you want. I placed a rubber stopper (like the ones from science class) under the styrene. I have heard of some people using their self-healing mats and then digging them out with an exacto-knife, but my way leaves the rivets on top of the stopper, ready for use.

At first, I was trying to be too careful and gentile and my number of successful rivets was about 3 or 4 out of ten. Not very good. Then I discovered the secret, don’t be careful and above all, don’t be gentle. Push the drill bit through with a lot of force. My percentage increased to above 90%!

As is evident in the pictures, I created row after row of near perfect rivets in no time. I place a butter lid under the stopper to catch those acrobatic rivets that fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

Attaching the rivets was simple enough. First mark where you want them. If it is on styrene or plastic, place a small dab of Testor liquid cement there, pick up the rivet with a spit moistened exacto-knife and place it in it’s new home. If the area is not styrene or plastic, like 2-part putty or brass, place a small amount of gloss clear varnish and place the same way. The gloss requires longer to dry and gives more working time. You can place up to 5 rivets at a time using either method before redipping.

Hope this helps. I know I did not invent the wheel, but I feel I have made it better!

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