Turn Rivets into Bolts

How hard can it be to turn rivets into bolts? The reason I need to do this is I want the bulkhead in the tender of the Burrell traction engine to be removable. At least removable for the moment. The issue is that this traction engine is 1/20th scale and the rivets are 1/16 inch in diameter. This just makes them too difficult to hold. Hence, this post is actually about making a chuck to hold a rivet so that I could thread it.

I considered clamping the shaft of the rivet. However, there is much material and it was likely it would mark the rivet.

Hence, the design I thought of was to create the back of the chuck with a thread and a concave anvil. The thread is M4, the concave end was machined using a round burr. I then used a green grit burr to finish the dished area.

green grit grinding in the lathe
Note that the lathe bed is protect when using grinding bits. You don’t need any grit to get into the working areas of the lathe as they will create significant wear.
Concave chuck back

This gave me a concave back that would support the head of the rivet.

I made a nut with a 1/16 inch hole and an internal thread of M4 to fit onto this. This nut applies a force onto the underside of the rivet head and clamps it into this concave section.

rivet balancing on the chuck
1/16 inch brass rivet balanced on the rivet chuck.
rivet locked with nut

The nut then fits over the rivet and is locked with two spanners. This is where the concave area helps to reduce damage to the head of the rivet. Plus it increases the contact area.

What this gives me is a tool that allows me to hold the rivet.

threaded rivet
It is then possible to hold the chuck and thread the rivet with a die.

These rivets were threaded 10BA, a convenient thread that just about works with 1/16 inch rivets. So in order to turn rivets into bolts you first need to hold them.

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