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The Avionics Leader for Experimental Aircraft
BY JOE NORRIS
THE FEBRUARY ISSUE OF EAA Sport
Aviation contained a hint for removing
defective rivets that works well if you
have just a few to remove. Ken Pavlou,
EAA 603659, has submitted a method
that is especially useful if you have a large
number of rivets to remove.
Ken’s idea is based on a drill guide
that makes drilling into the exact center
of the rivet easier by assuring that you’re
lined up with the center of the rivet every
time. He made his out of scrap aluminum.
If you have a lot of rivets to drill out, you
may want to make the drill guide out of
steel instead, as this may give it a longer
The drill guide will be specific to the
size of the rivet being removed. Ken’s is
for 3/16-inch rivets. Ken explains how he
made it and how it’s used:
The procedure consists of drilling
through the center of the rivet, snapping
off the head, and then punching out the
rivet with a pin punch and hammer.
I made a self-aligning drilling guide to
drill out the center of the rivet out of
1-inch square aluminum bar stock cut
into a “T” section profile. A 5/32-inch
hole is drilled through the middle. The
hole is then countersunk a little at a time
to fit the factory rivet head perfectly. This
will align the hole in the guide with the
exact center of the rivet being removed.
The guide is placed over the rivet and
clamped on each side. A 5/32-inch bit is
used to drill into the rivet to within 1/8
inch of the opposite end. The guide is
removed and a pin punch is used to snap
the rivet head off with a sideways motion.
The rivet is then punched out as mentioned above.
This method preserves the hole and
allows the use of the same size rivet. The
entire procedure takes about two minutes
The method Ken devised is a modified
version of a procedure called the Navy
method for removing solid rivets. (Access