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hydraulic riveting

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Geoff Rogers20/06/2016 10:31:26
30 forum posts
4 photos

I have uploaded some photos showing how I am riveting the spokes to the rims for the 4" scale Burrell traction engines I am making.

The photos show the hydraulic cylinder used and the resultant rivet heads. using this tool I can use the as-supplied rivet head on the outside and from a head on the inside, where it is less visible.

Hope this is of interest.

Geoff Rogers

Paul Lousick20/06/2016 10:37:25
1724 forum posts
628 photos

Hi Jeoff,

What diameter rivets did you use ?

How much extra length of the rivet did you leave for forming the opposite side rivet head ?


Brian Wood20/06/2016 10:55:07
2387 forum posts
37 photos

I have often wondered at the viability of an SDS drill, with the rotary action turned off, for use as a riveting tool.

Has anyone tried it?


Geoff Rogers20/06/2016 11:07:35
30 forum posts
4 photos

hi Paul,

the rivets are 3/16" steel round head and 3/4" long. The spokes and rim are 6mm, leaving 0.277" for the head. More or less equal to the 1.429D setting allowance specified for a formed round head.


Andrew Johnston20/06/2016 11:09:50
6016 forum posts
670 photos

Geoff: Now that is interesting, thanks for posting. Any idea what sort of forces are involved? I've looked at off-the-shelf hydraulic presses, but those that are wide enough for the rear wheels and capable of closing a 1/4" steel rivet are expensive, ie, over £700.

SDS drills have been used for riveting, although I can't immediately find the video I watched. If I recall correctly rotary action was helpful too, a bit like a spin riveter? I bought a cheap SDS drill from B&Q ages ago, but haven't got around to trying it yet. However, as I progress with my wheels the need for riveting gets ever closer!


Gordon W20/06/2016 11:16:46
2011 forum posts

I have a cheap SDS drill, one with the motor at R-angles to the chuck. This works well for hammering eg a stuck shaft, never tried riveting but can't see why not. It's more of a pneumatic hammer than hydraulic.

Paul Lousick20/06/2016 11:29:42
1724 forum posts
628 photos

Thanks Geoff,

I intend to do something similar with the wheels on my traction engine. My rivets are 1/4' dia but I do not have a special riveting tool, instead I am going to make a jig that fits into a standard 20 ton press.

Other options are to use an SDS drill in hammer mode as stated above or one of the small pneumatic chisel guns. I recently used one to bead (roll over) the ends of the tubes in my boiler with the aid of a special form tool.


Geoff Rogers20/06/2016 11:33:04
30 forum posts
4 photos

hi Andrew,

I have a pressure gauge fitted to the hydraulic setup and I take the pressure to about 3000psi for 3/16" rivets. For the cylinder I have made these pressure equate to about 5.3 tons. This gives the formed head as shown in the photos - unless it goes wrong, that is.


JasonB20/06/2016 11:44:43
20474 forum posts
2269 photos
1 articles

Thats made a nice job of the Rivits Geoff, do you do them in one go or as I Iave seen others use two or three different shaped snaps to get teh final shape?

Andrew I have seen that the 3/16" ones on 3" Fowlers take 4.3T to form them

Geoff Rogers20/06/2016 11:59:46
30 forum posts
4 photos

I form the rivets in two stages; one to set and a second to form. I have found that the 'set' operation is most beneficial for two reasons, firstly to make sure the rivet fills the hole and secondly to stop, or at least reduce the chance of the rivet cocking over during squashing resulting in a very bad head. Rivet and I.


KWIL20/06/2016 12:17:50
3382 forum posts
66 photos


"For the cylinder I have made", could you give details of this as well please?

AndyA20/06/2016 12:42:41
38 forum posts

I did similar for my traction engine wheels using a hydraulic closer made by a friend. From memory - 4000 psi, 2.5"dia cylinder for a 5/16" dia rivet. It worked very well and formed the head in a single squash.

Andrew Johnston20/06/2016 13:38:56
6016 forum posts
670 photos

Geoff: Thanks for the pressure/force information. That fits in with my estimates and the information in Machinery's Handbook.


RICHARD GREEN 220/06/2016 16:35:25
320 forum posts
185 photos

Here is how I rivetted the wheels on the 6" Burrell traction engine I'm building, these are the front wheels and I did the back wheels the same way.

I have got a Mills 60 ton C frame hydraulic press, I adjusted the pressure right down to form a nice snap head in one go, on the 5/16" rivets cold.


rivetting front wheels 003.jpg

rivetting front wheels 004.jpg

burrell wheels 001.jpg

Speedy Builder520/06/2016 21:31:47
2272 forum posts
173 photos

I have used a small air chisel with a suitable dolly, rivet diameter 1/8".

Geoff Rogers21/06/2016 09:53:46
30 forum posts
4 photos


the cylinder is single acting short stroke and made from SG cast iron. The piston is two part and fitted with a heavy section O ring. The piston/bore sizing is such that an anti-extrusion ring is not needed. The O ring is about 55mm OD and about 5.4mm section.

I have used the cylinder to close up to 1/4" steel rivets (the largest I need to close) and it has seen a lot of use so far with the rear wheel strakes and front wheel construction (I am making three engines). To date, no leakage and nothing broken. The dollies are made from mild steel case hardened at the business end .


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