Drilling Rivets Out of Metal Joints

In school as many materials as possible are reused, including joints. After projects are returned from being marked the joints will need to be removed from the uprights so that they can be used again. This will also be useful in fixing aluminum uprights if they break while bending them.

This video will demonstrate how to remove rivets without damaging the joints themselves. 

The center of the rivet is marked and punched to keep the drill bit from wandering and prevent damage to the joint. Determine the size of drill bit needed. The bit should be large enough to remove the exposed head of the rivet.  In this case the diameter of the rivet head was 1/4" so a 1/4" bit was used.

The drill press is used to remove just enough of the rivet to expose the stem.  Frequent checking is essential to ensure that it has not been drilled too far. This will maintain the countersunk perimeter to allow the joint to be riveted onto new uprights.

Once the stem has been exposed, a punch and hammer are used to remove the rivet.  Putting the joint in the vice as shown will ensure there is nothing underneath to prevent the rivet from coming through.  Use a punch that is close to the same size of the stem or slightly smaller to prevent distortion to the channel. The rivet can now be hammered out.

Repeat previous steps for the other rivets.

Extra considerations

- Don't forget to wear PPE!

- Pliers may be needed if there is not enough upright to hold onto while drilling (like in the this video)

- Don't forget to use some oil to prevent damaging the drill bit and everyone's hearing

- Once the uprights are removed do NOT throw them in the garbage. Please put them in the metal recycling bin in the machine room.