Zenith Aircraft Co. is making available its blind rivets through Aircraft Spruce and Specialty.
Blind (or pulled) rivets are a common type of fastener used in metal kit aircraft construction. They are available in 1/8” and 5/32” diameters.
As the rivet is pulled, the rivet head is drawn into a dome-shaped top, which gives the finished rivet a low profile rounded top, enhancing the strength of the rivet while improving airflow over it.
The ease with which these rivets can be pulled, or “popped,” saves time and simplifies the entire kit building process. Aeronautical engineer Chris Heintz, designer of the Zenith line of kit planes, first started using structural blind rivets for light aircraft construction in the 1970s when he sought an easier alternative to bucked solid rivets, which require additional tooling and skills.
“We’ll be using Zenair rivets during the construction of the One Week Wonder at AirVenture this summer,” said Sebastien Heintz, president of Zenith Aircraft. “Volunteer builders begin unpacking a complete kit for a CH 750 Cruzer on opening day and expect to taxi the completed aircraft within a week. We expect several thousand people to stop by the construction area and pull a blind rivet, so they can say they helped build an aircraft.”
Aircraft Spruce also carries the Zenair Pneumatic Riveter for $99.85 along with the Zenair Manual Riveter for $49.50, both of which feature the required domed head for pulling and forming the rivets. A package of 100 1/8” rivets (part number 12-03709) costs $11.65 and have a shear strength of 130 lbs. The 5/32” rivets (part number 12-03711) are $16.75 with shear strength of 220 lbs.
To watch a demonstration of pulling Zenair rivets, EAA has made a short video showing the process: