I may never use rivets again.

Have a look at these fasteners:

If there is some way of inserting these without a hammer and anvil then I am totally sold (Does anyone know of such a way?)

EDIT: After some further reading I have discovered more problems, they appear to be almost impossible to remove and cannot be inserted from just one side (you need access to both). Still, they are pretty cool

They can be inserted using an arbor press (if you have room to fit it in there).

Another method is to use a Rivet gun. There are special attachments to the rivet gun that let you thread into the PEM nut and pull it into the surface if should be in.

My preference is to try to use the press first and rivet gun 2nd.


Gabriel Goldman
Sr. Research Engineer, NREC

I didn’t see any strength numbers, but i would Imagine this to be substantially weaker than a structural rivet. the thing that I really love about rivets is how fast they are, 3 people from our build crew can do the whole drive base frame in an hour, and I bet that these would take a lot longer to put in.

How would PEM hardware be weaker?

As for using PEM hardware instead of rivets, try a combination of both instead. Installing PEM nuts can add some time to the production of your parts. They are cool but check with your sheetmetal sponsor first if they’d have the time and can do it free of charge.

Coincidentally, having just come back from Harbor Freight Tools today with $300.00 purchase of my first rivet-gun and matching compressor… I’m wondering why the search for something superior to rivets?

I thought rivets were the ultimate way to go for FRC assembly… are there any drawbacks to using rivets?


Rivets are the bomb! But they have a definite drawback in that they protrude from the surface. For example, this means I will need to drill oversive holes in my bumper backs. Also, this makes all designs require larger clearances

Countersunk head rivets don’t protrude (on one side, at least). In fact, it looks like a flush-on-both-sides pop rivet is available too.

Seriousy?!?!?!? Link please :yikes:

In the link I posted above, scroll down a bit for the flush-on-both-sides countersunk blind rivets. (Or go here.)

These only work if you can pinch the hardware on both sides and you have enough room from the edge to center line of the piece of hardware. Pop rivets work great with a pneumatic rivet gun. A manual rivet gun works in a pinch for a small aluminum rivet but is hard to exert enough force to install a large stainless steel rivet.

Also keep in mine you can use self threading screws for parts that may need to be remove occasionally or go with a clinching pem nut and a screw for parts that need high holding strength and needs to be reusable/removable.

On parts that need to be located then put in place take a look at slot and tabbing or a process called half shear.

Use the correct process to joins the parts according to function. Some joining processes are rivets, screws, bolts and nuts, double back tape, spot welding, arc welding, soldering.