"And a Rivet Runs Through It" - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-23-2006, 01:01 PM   #1
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I have never like rivets at all and had great fun drilling them all (almost all) out of my Scamp. Zip-pink, zip-pink. I had a bucket full of the little devils. I hoped I could find a better way--better looking, better stronger, not rustable...better. I ran across these "Thermoplastic Rivets" in the hardware store. They are just like the regular ones, but hard plastic and larger. The smallest size is 3/4". In one store, a bag of 100 cost $21. Another store, same bag $14. Anyone have experience with these little puppies? Thanks
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Old 09-23-2006, 04:24 PM   #2
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I ran across these "Thermoplastic Rivets" in the hardware store.
These? Did you intend to put in a link? Any comment anyone makes is likely to be inaccurate without seeing the particular rivets.

Andrew
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Old 09-23-2006, 05:15 PM   #3
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These? Did you intend to put in a link? Any comment anyone makes is likely to be inaccurate without seeing the particular rivets.

Andrew
Plastic rivets with time become brittle & break. The best rivet replcement is ss bolts.

Don Meyer(Mech Engr)
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Old 09-23-2006, 07:52 PM   #4
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These? Did you intend to put in a link? Any comment anyone makes is likely to be inaccurate without seeing the particular rivets.

Andrew
Sorry, I've been away for awhile. The product is called Sequentia Structoglas FRP Drive Rivets. It's a rivet. It looks like a rivet. It is made of high impact thermoplastic. They are used to attach FG panels and wall fixtures. They are used to attach sheathing to metal, etc. I thought might be good for attaching floor to frame. Cabinets to FG., etc. I'll learn to link...I promise.
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Old 09-23-2006, 09:34 PM   #5
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Nylon Drive Rivets

These are installed by hammering the pin IN.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:11 PM   #6
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They must look rather ugly on the inside. I like ss bolts and acorn nuts.
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Old 09-23-2006, 10:13 PM   #7
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My curiosity got the better of me...a little google excursion found these.

Thermoplastic Rivets

Could be quite interesting for Fiberglass Trailer applications in areas where the stress levels were not too great.

I will leave it to some of the engineering members to compare the pull and shear numbers to the aluminum rivets.

On looking over the information on the web a little closer, I see the Canadian Distributor is only about 4 or 5 Miles from my house. I'll try and drop by next week and see if I can get some samples for testing
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:52 AM   #8
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My curiosity got the better of me...a little google excursion found these.

Thermoplastic Rivets

Could be quite interesting for Fiberglass Trailer applications in areas where the stress levels were not too great.

I will leave it to some of the engineering members to compare the pull and shear numbers to the aluminum rivets.

On looking over the information on the web a little closer, I see the Canadian Distributor is only about 4 or 5 Miles from my house. I'll try and drop by next week and see if I can get some samples for testing
Thanks, Charlie. I thought they might be worth a look. Another supplier is http://www.Nudo.com/rivets They have photos, etc. I am always interested in new or different ways to tackle old problems. Contrary to some folks, I usually have the attitude that ANY change is bound to be an improvement. Gets me into alot of trouble.
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Old 09-24-2006, 02:14 PM   #9
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Any items made of plastic, and I don't care what kind it is of the 4,000 main families and 24,000 derivatives, when exposed to Ultra Violet light from the sun, will eventually detoriate and then become brittle and then desintegrate.
Enough said?
Go stainless steel when ever possible.
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Old 09-24-2006, 05:41 PM   #10
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Kristi, et al,
When the fiberglass TT body becomes stressed during an emergency manuever or a rough road or even a good sized pot-hole where is the "weak link"? With aluminum pop-rivets, the fiberglass generally proves stronger and the repair only requires replacing the rivet. Using a bolt will require a much more involved repair of the fiberglass, particularly if the cracks are deeper than surface stress cracks. Stress tests of plastic rivets used with fiberglass will need to be published to convince me to change. The issue of UV deterioration might be addressed by including an ingredient in the plastic formula which would counteract the problem (possibly lamp-black). Painting or caulking the head of the rivet could also be the answer and may even be a requirement to prevent moisture from seeping in along the stem.
In my youth, I always attempted to make things stronger, assuming stronger was better. As I've added a few years I've discovered that axiom isn't necessarily true. Among many other examples, automobiles are designed with "crush zones". Not for the purpose of making the manufacturers rich by boosting the number of parts required for repair, but to protect the occupants so they don't have to be repaired. It became smarter for the car to be the "weak-link" than the human being riding inside.

Please consider all the ramifications of your decisions before starting in a direction which may not allow you to go back to the starting point. Come to think of it, that advice is appropriate for nearly all aspects of one's life.

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Old 09-24-2006, 06:26 PM   #11
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I have never like rivets at all
[b]Why?
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:37 PM   #12
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:41 PM   #13
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Seems that these thermoplastic rivets are for a very light duty application judging from their blurb....I wouldn`t be the one trying to hang up the overhead cabinets with them unless the trailer was going to be a static display and the cabinets empty.....also not the prettiest looking pieces when compressed......I`ll stick with my SS machine screws and SS acorn nuts for interior trim... ..I had small stress cracks under my aluminum rivets in my 13' Boler and in the 4 years since I switched to machine screws, the stress cracks haven`t noticeably changed .......and they could have been originally caused by loose stretched aluminum Pop rivets wiggling around in the holes while trailering.......Benny
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:41 PM   #14
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I'm going to agree with Kurt on this issue. The only SS bolts on my trailer are the ones I just added to hold the Horizon Case Awning. The problem was needing to cut the insulation and the rat fur to get to the shell so I could put the nylon lock acorn nut on (plus I added 1-1/2" fender washers.) For this particular application, I think the bolts/nuts was the best answer, but for nearly everything else, I'd prefer to use rivets, also for the reason Kurt mentioned. I'd rather replace a rivet now and then, than fix fiberglass.
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Old 09-24-2006, 07:57 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, 10:07 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, 06:28 AM   #17
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The product is called Sequentia Structoglas FRP Drive Rivets. It's a rivet.
Click image for larger version

Name:	plastic_rivet.gif
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ID:	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!

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Old 09-25-2006, 08:33 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, 12:23 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, 12:40 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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