Design and Technology (D&T) KS3: Pop riveting

This short film explains the process of pop riveting, a simple method of permanently or semi-permanently fixing together two flat sheets of a material to form a more complex component, as an alternative to using adhesives.

Pop riveters are relatively cheap, standard tools which can be used across a large range of manufacturing projects in RMT, product design, graphic products, textiles and engineering. It can be a useful, all-round, general fixing method.

Teacher Notes

Points for discussion

  • How pop riveting differs from ‘cold’ rivets, shaped and fitted with a hammer, snap tool, etc.
  • Where might you choose rivets over, for example, nuts and bolts, adhesives, or screws?
  • How might you remove pop rivets if you made a mistake or need to disassemble a product for recycling.
  • The potential advantages of using a ‘permanent but removable’ fixing method in terms of recycling products.
  • The onus on manufacturers to consider a ‘cradle to cradle’ life cycle for products.
  • If you were using pop rivets to fix fabric to a more rigid material, how would you stop the rivets tearing the fabric?

Suggested activities

  • Pop riveting can be used in a vast range of instances where fixing thin sheet materials or non-like materials will aid the design solution. Students could try using the technique with a range of materials.
  • Thin sheets of metals (for example for boxes and trays), plastics and woods may be fixed this way, as well as fabrics and leather, flexible plys and even card or thick paper. Students could try fixing two different materials together.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching design and technology (D&T) at KS3/4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and 3rd and 4th level in Scotland.

More from this series

Laser cutting
Block foam modelling
Finishing wood