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How to Use a Brake Riveting Tool


Brake Riveting Tool Uses
A pneumatic (left) and a mechanical or foot-stomp riveter side by side. They're nearly identical.
A pneumatic (left) and a mechanical or foot-stomp riveter side by side. They're nearly identical.
Photo by Kristen Hall-Geisler

Though riveted brakes are less common now than they once were, there are still several types of brake riveting tools out there.

Folks with a restoration project in their home garage will probably use a hand set. These tools are small and usually clamp to a workbench. The rivet is set on the anvil, the roller is poised above it, and a few well-placed whacks with a hammer roll the edges. While cheap and easy, this isn't very efficient, and it doesn't hold as tightly as rivets rolled by machines.

Foot stomp and pneumatic machines are larger, freestanding riveters. They work exactly like a hand set, but the pressure to roll the rivet comes from the machine rather than your arm. When you press a lever with your foot on the foot stomp machine, it sets gears and a chain in motion, which lowers the roller onto the rivet, which is placed on the anvil. A pneumatic machine works exactly the same way -- and even looks similar -- but a pneumatic system replaces the gears.

The latest riveting tools are hydraulic, which use pressure sensors for precise riveting. A rivet feeder allows for a quicker process, and it can even be set for individual brake types. Using a machine like this, a custom brake business can replace linings on 700 to 800 brakes a day, on anything from long-haul trucks to vintage passenger vehicles.

Though brake riveting tools are pretty straightforward, we do have a few tips to share on the next page.


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