Making Rivets

Discussion in 'FAQs' started by TomPM, Apr 23, 2004.

  1. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    I am currently working on a passenger station diorama for the 2nd Gauge Layout Party. As part of the diorama I have bridge crossing the tracks and a creek. Actually two bridges. One is for a trolley line, the other is a highway bridge. I am thinking of making the highway bridge a thru girder bridge. Many of the longer span bridges in this area that were built in the early part of the 20th century were thru girders. This is especially true of bridges that were built by the railroads. Another aspect of these bridges is many were constructed with stone masonry abutments and wing walls. I will most likely have to scratchbuild the girders for this bridge out of styrene. One question that I have is how do I make rivets?
  2. cidchase

    cidchase Active Member

  3. Ray Marinaccio

    Ray Marinaccio Active Member

  4. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Tom, there are two methods I've used for making my own rivets, both eliminate the need to glue a lot of teeny tiny parts.

    you can take thin styrene and roll rivets onto it using that gizmo that is made to roll a pattern onto material for sewing. It looks like a little pizza cutter with a toothed wheel. It takes some practice to get dots instead of dashes. The thin styrene can them be glued onto thicker styrene as needed. I wanted to glue it on after the fact, without increasing thickness, so I used very thin styrene. You may get by with thicker styrene, especially if you file the spaces between the teeth on the tool. It is said an old clock gear works better.

    The other method requires a drill press. NGSL also makes or made a tool to do this, but all you need is a cheap, small drill press. You take a flat piece of metal (at least 1/16" thick) and clamp it down to the table on the drill press. You could just use the table itself if you like. Then get the smalles drill bit you can find (I used the smallest one in a dremel drill bit set - I don't know what size it is) and drill the shallowest hole you can in the metal or the table itself. Just touch it. Maybe 1/32 or 1 /64 deep. You can experiment with the depth. I just stopped drilling as soon as I saw it was beginning to bite. The take a small nail (mine was maybe 1/8" dia or a little smaller), cut off the head, and chuck it into the drill press. Then I clamped a stainless ruler down to act like a table saw fence, and began pressing rivets into brass sheet and sliding the material along the ruler in 1/16" incriments. The results were fantastic, but I have not tried it in plastic. wiht plastic, you are going to have to regulate the pressure you use. You may need to shape the end of the nail, the point, to suit.

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  5. shamus

    shamus Registered Member

    I use Grantline rivets for my 0n30, they look great. As Jon said, lots of damn holes to drill first, but that the fun of it.
  6. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    there have been several articals in the MR on simple riviting jigs and machines that would probley work in styrene have all the mags will look them up;)
  7. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    I forgot to mention, onthe drill press, with styrene, you may be able to set the depth stop to not push too hard into the plastic.

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