"And a Rivet Runs Through It" - Page 2 - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-24-2006, 08:57 PM   #15
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Ok. SO I've taken the belly band off the boler. Scraped the layers of paint off and burnished and buffed and pollished the metal back to new[almost]. So what do you suggest for fasteners when I reatach after the new paint goes on in the spring? The rivits held for 20 plus years, laid fairly flat, and were barely noticeable. I guess a no 4 or 6 stainless flathead screw would work if I redrill the holes and countersink them. How much am I going to gain?
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Old 09-24-2006, 11:07 PM   #16
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Thannks, Gina. I remember you from when I initially joined. Another woman in her "Element". I have always enjoyed YOUR sense of humor! Monkeys! no less.
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Old 09-25-2006, 07:28 AM   #17
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The product is called Sequentia Structoglas FRP Drive Rivets. It's a rivet.
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There are rivets.... and then there are rivets. These ones are intended for installing fiberglass linings inside washrooms, etc, and have two problems that I can see:

- The rivet grips by expanding in a deep hole and gripping the sides of the hole. In 90+% of applications on a trailer, you have a shallow hole (ie, it is in thin material) so this rivet won't grip.

- I am uncertain about the pull-out strength of this sort of rivet, even if it is fixed into thick material. I can see it's shear strength is good but its pull-out strength only needs to be enough to stop a sheet of fiberglass dropping off a vertical wall - not the same as holding overhead cabinets in place over bumps!

Andrew
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Old 09-25-2006, 09:33 AM   #18
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Attachment 4970


There are rivets.... and then there are rivets. These ones are intended for installing fiberglass linings inside washrooms, etc, and have two problems that I can see:

- The rivet grips by expanding in a deep hole and gripping the sides of the hole. In 90+% of applications on a trailer, you have a shallow hole (ie, it is in thin material) so this rivet won't grip.

- I am uncertain about the pull-out strength of this sort of rivet, even if it is fixed into thick material. I can see it's shear strength is good but its pull-out strength only needs to be enough to stop a sheet of fiberglass dropping off a vertical wall - not the same as holding overhead cabinets in place over bumps!

Andrew
All of these comments certainly give food for thought. Much to consider. Thank you.
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:23 PM   #19
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I have always disliked rivets, as well.

My first problem with them was that they are single-use: you have to drill them out to remove them, then install a new one to reassemble. That's not a big deal in many trailer applications, but is a real pain when they are used in small appliances, etc.

The next problem is that they are usually quite soft (to make them easy to install), and so they stretch and distort under load. Since they can't be tightened, there's that replacement again.

The latest frustration which I have had with them is that in soft materials (such as fiberglass), they need a washer or other part on the inside to pull against, or they do not expand and grip well. That takes much of the "blind installation" advantage away, so it's an annoying single-use fastener without a balancing advantage.

I understand the idea of deliberate weak links. My lawn mower uses a couple of plain rivets as shear pins connecting the blade to the motor shaft, so if I hit a hard object they shear and I only need to replace them (for a few cents) rather than having engine or major blade damage. What I don't understand is how cabinets fastened into a trailer should need a weak link. Does the interior of your car fall apart on rough roads?

None of this means that rivets should not be used. In factory assembly, the few seconds or few cents saved by each rivet (verus a nut and bolt) adds up to be significant, where it is irrelevant in my repair or modification work. In a factory environment, exactly the right size and type of rivet can be used for best performance, and pneumatic pulling tools ensure fast and repeatable installation. Also, while they stretch and fail, they don't loosen in the way a nut can back off of a bolt, so they are in some sense more reliable.

I think that all of this would apply to the thermoplastic rivets as it does to the aluminum and steel rivets which I have dealt with so far.

I'm only guessing, but I suspect the thermoplastic rivets would be inadequate for any cabinetry, but might be fine for small items such as service (water, power) entrance fittings.
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Old 09-25-2006, 01:40 PM   #20
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I have always disliked rivets, as well.
What I don't understand is how cabinets fastened into a trailer should need a weak link. Does the interior of your car fall apart on rough roads?
I think there's a big difference between an automobile and a fiberglass trailer. Automobiles are made of steel. Steel fastners whether bolts or rivets still the weak point. Automobiles are designed to with stand lots of impact energy and are quite ridgid. Automobile bodies don't flex and bend while driving down the road, there's an internal steel structure to keep everything from flexing and moving around.

Fiberglass trailers are made of fiberglass which is a plastic. There is no internal steel structure to force them to hold their shape so they will flex and move as they bounce over bumps and etc. The cabinets provide some support the reduce the amount of flexing, but stop it. As things flex and move something will have to give eventually, your choice whether it's the rivets or the fiberglass.
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Old 09-25-2006, 08:04 PM   #21
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I think there's a big difference between an automobile and a fiberglass trailer...
Yes, of course, I agree; however, they are not completely dissimilar. Even a car is not completely rigid, as anyone can see who has jacked up a corner to change a tire and found that the doors are not fitting very well. The difference is that the car body is rigid enough to keep the flex within the limits of the components, without resorting to weak links, short of an actual collision. When the body flexes, the plastic trim, dashboard, windows, and whatever else is not forced to move so far that their fasteners shear off. Modern cars are much more rigid that those of a few decades ago, as structural design has improved; I think our trailers are firmly stuck in the 1970's, but even the cars of the 70's didn't pop their interiors apart (well, 1980's Dodge interiors fall apart, but I don't think it's the same effect... )

A closer comparison might be an Airstream trailer. Like a typical "egg", this is a body shell carried by a basic steel frame. The shell holds itself up, but would not handle the load of being used without the support of the frame; I have no idea if the interior fittings are expected to help. Do Airstreams shear rivets when driven? Seriously, I don't have one and don't know - any thoughts from the Airstreamers among us?

In any case, I agree that if the fastener through the shell might apply huge forces that could damage the fiberglass (such as for a cabinet, not just an electrical cord entrance fitting, for instance), shearing a rivet would be better than cracking fiberglass.
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Old 09-26-2006, 12:11 AM   #22
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Hi James, for the belly band I`d go with aluminum rivets since all they do is hold the belly band in place and will last indefinitely.....what will wear somewhat is the hole in the fiberglass......I`d replace the old rivets with new in the existing holes and then run an extra rivet in a new hole in between where the old rivets were....worked for me! .. ....Benny
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Old 09-26-2006, 07:44 PM   #23
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Hi James, for the belly band I`d go with aluminum rivets since all they do is hold the belly band in place and will last indefinitely.....what will wear somewhat is the hole in the fiberglass......I`d replace the old rivets with new in the existing holes and then run an extra rivet in a new hole in between where the old rivets were....worked for me! .. ....Benny
Hi: I don't have a problem with Rivets... It's "Rosie The Riveter" that bothers me!!! Alf S. North shore of Lake Erie
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Old 09-26-2006, 08:40 PM   #24
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I am also an Airstreamer, and I've never lost a rivet yet, not even on my 1953 ! Airstream rivets are blind rivets, but I don't see that would make any difference.
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Old 09-27-2006, 02:33 AM   #25
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IMHO using ss rivets defeats the purpose of rivets in respect to fiberglas applications! Aluminum has the give that is required and if they break, they have done their job of NOT CRACKING the FIBERGLAS and showing there is a stress problem or in the case of the AlCan Hiway, was a problem. DITTO for using steel screws!
Just MHO
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Old 09-29-2006, 07:18 PM   #26
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I believe the primary reason the various manfs over the years have used rivets is ease of production, plus they are hard to under- or over-tighten -- I believe the rivet as "fuse" theory that many of us have espoused is really more icing on the cake.

Some folks have used SS screws and nuts without problems and some folks (myself included) have had the original aluminum rivets pull thru the fiberglass anyway, so experience has varied -- BTW, some of the Yahoo Scampers have been involved in aircraft building and have said that the rivets Scamp uses are of excellent quality.

Buddy, on Yahoo Scampers, got his reriveting techniques down pat and has completely reriveted both his Scamp 13 and his Scamp 5W, working alone with an inside Acorn-nut holding tool he devised.
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Old 09-29-2006, 09:48 PM   #27
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I believe the primary reason the various manfs over the years have used rivets is ease of production, plus they are hard to under- or over-tighten -- I believe the rivet as "fuse" theory that many of us have espoused is really more icing on the cake.

Some folks have used SS screws and nuts without problems and some folks (myself included) have had the original aluminum rivets pull thru the fiberglass anyway, so experience has varied -- BTW, some of the Yahoo Scampers have been involved in aircraft building and have said that the rivets Scamp uses are of excellent quality.

Buddy, on Yahoo Scampers, got his reriveting techniques down pat and has completely reriveted both his Scamp 13 and his Scamp 5W, working alone with an inside Acorn-nut holding tool he devised.
Maybe you could get Buddy to post pics or diagrams of his Acorn Holding One Man Tool. Or does he want to sell it, where's the line???? I AM SERIOUS!!!
chuck h.
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Old 10-04-2006, 02:36 AM   #28
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A small rolled up round piece of butal caulk, stuffed into the acorn nut, will hold it on the rivet end. It will also provide some extra sealing for the rivet core if the outside seal leaks. Several can be set at a time, after the intial space take up has occured.
zig
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