Using Riv-Nuts

Archive of useful information. This is not a discussion area.
Post Reply
katou   10 kW

10 kW
Posts: 791
Joined: Jul 22 2009 7:52am
Location: Toronto

Using Riv-Nuts

Post by katou » Apr 02 2011 11:58am

How to Install and Use Rivnuts FAQ

I guess that these are called Rivnuts / Riv-nuts / Riv nuts / Blind Nuts / Nut-sert

or in generic terms, a blind-hole rivet containing an internally threaded hole for use on thin materials.

On your bike, the water bottle holder attaches to riv-nuts. Look closely and you'll see the threads inside the hole where the bolts go in.

Anyway, I needed to use them to mount my battery box to my thin aluminum frame. I considered putting bolts straight through, but I was pretty sure it would crush the tubing. It's a good thing I didn't try that, after seeing how thin the metal was, I'm definitely sure that it would have crushed.

Rivnuts come in aluminum and steel. I could only get the aluminum kind at my local specialty fastener store.

The process of setting a Rivnut is very simple, but because this sort of thing isn't something we do every day, it is very confusing to explain in words, but I'll try.

1. drill hole to fit rivnut (ideally the hole should be small enough that you have to tap very lightly to get it to go in)
2. put rivnut on tightening device
3. tighten rivnut device
4. done!

As you can see just the words are about as useful as having the perfect size wrench for a completely stripped nut. Before I show you my pix, here are some tools you can use:

Pro Rivnut setting Tool

Homemade rivnut setting Tool

Cute cheap commercial setting tool

The Tool

My version is made from what I had around, but it works pretty well. The Allen head bolt holds the rivnut still, and the nut moving down the bolt pulls the rivnut into compression. The two washers are necessary, as well as a bit of oil between them. If you only use one washer, the nut rotation turns the washer, and the washer rotates the rivnut in the hole.

This is bad because if the rivnut rotates, it may accidentally enlarge the hole you drilled. Large hole means the rivnut falls out and never becomes secure. This may be less of a problem on steel, but it sure is a problem on thin aluminum like on my bike frame. I had to do two over before I realized why it was happening. The oil helped a lot too.
IMG_3779 - Copy.JPG
Step 1 - 1/8" or 1.5mm hole drilled into thin material as pilot hole
IMG_3779 - Copy.JPG (25.48 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3780 - Copy.JPG
Step 2 -hole drilled out to full (very tight) size of Rivnut
IMG_3780 - Copy.JPG (25.59 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3793 - Copy.JPG
Step 3 - exploded view of my homemade rivnut tool
IMG_3793 - Copy.JPG (58.63 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3794 - Copy.JPG
Step 4 - tool partially assembled
IMG_3794 - Copy.JPG (21.08 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3796 - Copy.JPG
Step 5 - tool completely assembled with rivnut threaded on
IMG_3796 - Copy.JPG (20.92 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3797 - Copy.JPG
Step 6 - rivnut in hole, but not started compression
IMG_3797 - Copy.JPG (23.59 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3798 - Copy.JPG
step 7 - tool threaded into rivnut, ready to start compression
IMG_3798 - Copy.JPG (25.04 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3799 - Copy.JPG
Step 8 - tool in working position
IMG_3799 - Copy.JPG (22.18 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3801 - Copy.JPG
Rivnut with beginnings of compression showing
IMG_3801 - Copy.JPG (21.75 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3803 - Copy.JPG
Rivnut ~ 1/2 compressed
IMG_3803 - Copy.JPG (20.94 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3804 - Copy.JPG
Rivnut finished side view
IMG_3804 - Copy.JPG (59.06 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3807 - Copy.JPG
Rivnut finished front view
IMG_3807 - Copy.JPG (26.36 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3813 - Copy.JPG
Tool in operation compressing rivnut, wood is for contrast
IMG_3813 - Copy.JPG (98.8 KiB) Viewed 10231 times
IMG_3812 - Copy.JPG
Rivnut finished. Note: new larger rivnut in lower hole, upper hole is original smaller rivnut for water bottle. Wood is for contrast
IMG_3812 - Copy.JPG (42.17 KiB) Viewed 10258 times
IMG_3789 - Copy.JPG
Reference, Rivnut before and after compression
IMG_3789 - Copy.JPG (15.94 KiB) Viewed 10258 times

User avatar
spinningmagnets   100 GW

100 GW
Posts: 12705
Joined: Dec 21 2007 10:27pm
Location: Ft Riley, NE Kansas

Re: Using Riv-Nuts

Post by spinningmagnets » Apr 09 2011 12:55pm

I have had good luck with nutserts/rivnuts. In the application I use, I just drill a hole in wood or aluminum plate for custom brackets, then epoxy a nutsert in from the inside, so that turning a bolt from the outside pulls the nutsert. I do this in places where its inconvenient to have a bolt-and-nut, which requires two hands to tighten and loosen.

Nutserts can be ordered from Fastenal, but their minimum order is a box of 25. When I only need a few, I order from McMaster-Carr. Click on the link, scroll down to "Rivet-Nuts", click on that, and then select the style you want. I prefer the "Open-End Knurled Rivet Nuts", available in aluminum/steel/Stainless-Steel...metric and inches.

I use the M6 metric threads, similar in size to a 1/4" bolt. ... 4y6x&Nty=0 ... 653&ucst=t


If you are drilling a hole in aluminum, and then epoxying a steel threaded device into the hole, another option instead of nutserts/rivnuts, is called a "thumb-nut", available from McMaster-Carr:


Post Reply