Part of the appeal of rivet nuts is their toughness and the fact that they can be installed into a blind hole as well as the fact that they can be extremely difficult to dislodge or remove. In contrast, another part of their appeal is that inserting and fastening them is typically quick and simple using the proper tools. A little known fact, however, is that you can also install them even if you do not have any of the proper rivet nut tools available. Here is some advice on how to install rivet nuts without a tool.
What is a Rivet Nut?
First, a quick review: rivet nuts are mostly tubular, internally threaded blind rivets. People can install and fasten them blindly, meaning entirely from one side of the work. When they are inserted into the drilled hole, you can deform them in such a way that they cannot fall out on their own. One type of rivet nut creates a bulge on the blind side of the work, while the other goes into a sleeve and is less obvious.
This means that they do not need any additional fastening and anyone can install one in just a few seconds. As a result, they have a wide variety of applications, from the mast of a sailboat, race cars, golf carts, appliances, display cases and machines in all industries made from a diverse array of materials. Once installed they can be used with machine screws and bolts to fasten various objects to the finished application or to hold objects together such as a display case that must be assembled and disassembled multiple times.
Why Would I Need to Install Without a Tool?
The “blindness” quality of rivet nuts means that they can really come in handy when fastening from both sides would take too much time or is simply impossible. Instead of trying to get to the other side of the work, you just install them from one side and you are done. The rivet nut is the practical choice, for example, when assembling semi-trucks and trailers or making certain structural repairs that require fastening heavy materials together and you only have access to one side.
Usually, you will have some kind of dedicated tool for fastening rivet nuts at your disposal. However, there may be times when this is not the case. On these occasions, you will need the few items you have on hand to fasten them. This “DIY” approach is possible and not uncommonly practiced.
How Do I Do This?
To install rivet nuts without a tool, you will still need more than just your bare hands. You will also need a bolt that 1) has its own nut, and 2) can fit into the rivet nut. You should also have a washer or larger bushing that can fit around the bolt fairly tight. For tools, you will need an open-end wrench as well as a pair of water pump pliers or a second wrench that can hold the top of the machine screw or bolt tightly.
After placing the rivet nut into the hole, you must thread on the loose nut then place the bolt through the washer or bushing. Insert the bolt as far into the rivet nut as you can, then manually screw it in until the nut and washer stop you from screwing any further. In the end, you simply loosen the nut then unscrew the bolt from the rivet nut. The rivet nut should be deformed and fastened.
Unfortunately, this method is not universal. Stainless steel rivet nuts are virtually impossible to tighten without a tool, or at least it is much more difficult. With that said, this tool-free method can bring you great results in a pinch. SEE VIDEO
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