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A Hand Riveter, also known as a pneumatic hammer is a type of tool used to drive rivets.
The rivet gun is used on the manufactured head side of the rivet and a bucking bar is used on the buck-tail side of the rivet.
The energy from the hammer in the rivet gun drives the work and the rivet against the inertia of the bucking bar. As a result, the tail of the rivet is deformed and work-hardened.
At the same time the work is tightly drawn together and retained between the rivet head and the broadened and flattened tail.
Nearly all rivet guns are pneumatically powered.
Those rivet guns used to drive rivets in structural steel are quite large while those used in aircraft assembly are easily held in one hand. A rivet gun differs from an air hammer in the precision of the driving force.
Rivet guns vary in size and shape and have a variety of handles and grips. Pneumatic rivet guns typically have a regulator which adjusts the amount of air entering the tool. Regulated air entering passes through the throttle valve which is typically controlled by a trigger in the hand grip.
When the trigger is squeezed, the throttle valve opens, allowing the pressurised air to flow into the piston. As the piston moves, a port opens allowing the air pressure to escape. The piston strikes against the rivet set. The force on the rivet set pushes the rivet into the work and against the buck.
The buck deforms the tail of the rivet. The piston is returned to the original position by a spring or the shifting of a valve allowing air to drive the piston back to the starting position.