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How to Choose Your Plastic Rivets: A Guide

2.30 minutes | 24 Aug 2018

Pile of plastic rivets in different shapes and sizes

With a host of applications, plastic rivets are used in most things – from computers to children’s toys, even rockets. They may not crop up in our everyday conversations, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t important.

To help you better understand plastic rivets, their application and the different types available, we’re bringing you some of the most common rivets, alongside some of their most-used applications.

Ratchet Rivets

Typically available in natural colours or in black, the ratchet rivet comprises two identical parts. A unique fastener which is used in domestic appliances, audio equipment, furniture and motor vehicles, the two parts of the fastener are pushed together during assembly. This forms a secure and tamper-proof fixing and offers an appealing aesthetic.

For the very best results, use these screws – which are often manufactured from nylon – on compressible or rigid materials.

R-Tite Rivets

With a unique, two-piece design, the R-Tite plastic rivet provides a neat, finished appearance on both sides of the panel. Non-corrosive and non-conductive, the component provides a controlled grip range and is manufactured from nylon (body) and pin (acetal). Often in black, it’s worth noting that this rivet can be used with most standard pop-rivet setting tools. Providing a finishes aesthetic on both sides of a panel, the pin to this rivet breaks off when it is even with the head.

Snap Rivets

With two parts used for connecting flat panels together in a secure fashion, snap rivets are perfect for rigid or compressive materials where a finished head is needed on both sides. A solid rivet, the snap rivet has a round head and tends to be used in large, structural work.

Ideal for building strength to structures, these plastic rivets are used in ship building, boiler-making and for bridge girder construction.

Three or Four Prong, Non-Driven Rivets

These non-removable rivets come in a range of styles and sizes. Accommodating different materials and panel thicknesses, the push-in plastic rivets feature tapered prongs which snap into the fastening hole, responding to hold securely as a pin is driven. Key styles include round, binder, special round, panel and truss, and these rivets are most often used in the automotive, electronics, furniture, construction or appliance industries.

Two Prong Pre-Driven Rivets

Designed to be used in non-removable applications, the two prong, pre-driven rivet can be installed from one side to ensure your project runs more smoothly. With three heads on offer – round, special round, or binder – these rivets are one of three varieties amongst the multi-prong, non-driven type.

Mini Pro-Lok Rivets

Ideal for applications where the appearance of the rivet is vital, the mini Pro-Lok rivet has a smooth, oversized head, as well as a contoured, polished surface. This ensures it offers a cleaner, more pleasing aesthetic, when compared with other rivets. Meanwhile insertion is done by hand; simply press and lock the rivet into place, which can also be easily removed, if needs be. Just place a screw driver under the head to take out the rivet.

Fir Tree Rivets

Manufactured from black nylon, fir tree rivets have a 12mm head diameter and can be used with a 4.1 mm hole. With a maximum panel thickness of 10mm, this variety of rivet is designed to help you secure two panels together, or to hold components to panels. Easy to install, this rivet contracts on entry, before relaxing to secure the two panels. Be aware that this rivet also goes by these names: pine tree button, Christmas tree fastener, or facing fixings.

Countersunk Rivets

Another rivet which us used to join work-pieces together, where the head of the assembly driver will be flush with the top of the materials, the countersunk rivet can also secure friction materials to brake shoes.

Expansion Rivets

Last but not least, the expansion rivet is another more commonly-used plastic rivet. Utilise this rivet when fitting components or securing plastic or metal panels, in instances where the work area can only be easily accessed from one side. Locking the assembly into place, the rivet expands into the hole as the drive pin is pushed in, and these particular components are most often used in domestic appliances, telecom equipment, and motor vehicles.