We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

What is a Pneumatic Riveter?

M. McGee
Updated: May 17, 2024

A pneumatic riveter is a tool that uses air to create enough pressure to drive a rivet into structural metal. There are three basic configurations for a pneumatic riveter; rivet tools, rivet guns and riveting machines. Each of these works in a similar way, but has a slightly different construction. These three types have a number of different methods for actually pounding the rivet. These riveters are common in many types of manufacturing and construction, from building skyscrapers and airplanes to reinforcing blue jeans.

Most riveters, regardless of their size and configuration, work the same way. The rivet is placed into a hole in the metal; this hole is often slightly smaller than the rivet to facilitate a strong connection. A solid metal block, called a buck, is placed on the opposite side of the pneumatic riveter to provide a surface to push the rivet against.

The actual process of pounding the rivet is made of many steps, but it happens in a fraction of a second. Air is pumped into a holding chamber inside the riveter, where it is kept under pressure. When the riveter pushes the trigger, the air rushes into a piston chamber and pushes the piston down. This pushes the rivet down into the buck, flattening the backside of the rivet.

The construction of the pneumatic riveter has less to do with how it works and more to do with how it’s used. A rivet tool is a large machine that is typically used in the construction of a building or large piece of machinery. Rivet guns are smaller, handheld tools used for lighter projects, such as aircraft construction. Both of these tools are held directly by an operator who has full control over them. Riveting machines are part of a larger manufacturing process and are often found on automated assembly lines.

Three main methods can pound rivets into metal. The one-shot riveter forces the rivet down in one extremely powerful blow. These riveters are used nearly exclusively on high-strength metal, like steel. If used on a lighter metal, the impact would deform the structure of the impact spot. While this method is generally very fast, it also requires a highly-skilled operator.

The other two styles of pneumatic riveter hit the rivet over and over as long as the operator continues to hold the trigger. This incrementally pushes the rivet into the metal and deforms the back end. In general, these riveters are easier to use than the one-shot type. A slow-hitting pneumatic riveter hits the rivet between 1,500 and 2,500 times per minute, while a fast-hitting riveter may hit up to 5,000 times per minute. The slow-hitting riveter is the most common style of riveter on the market.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
M. McGee
By M. McGee
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences. With a background in communication-related fields, he brings strong organizational and interpersonal skills to his writing, ensuring that his work is both informative and engaging.
Discussion Comments
M. McGee
M. McGee
Mark McGee is a skilled writer and communicator who excels in crafting content that resonates with diverse audiences....
Learn more
WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGeek, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.