A generally simple process
together with a solid medium
insted of a liquid, generally some sort of glue or other sticky substance.
First off, this How To will be assuming that you already have two pieces of some materal to be riveted together. (Generally some sort of metal, Aluminum being one of the easiest to do this to.)
First off, it cannot be stressed enough that one must wear Personal Protective Equipment during the entire process. RIVETING IS LOUD AND POTENTIAL PROJECTILES ARE ALWAYS A HAZARD!
Ok, so you have on your goggles and ear plugs, now to find the materals you will need.
There are a few good rules to follow while riveting. (These "good rules" are Air Force standards, so they're VERY good rules indeed.)
1) A rivet's "shop head" (the end that is smashed into the materal) generally is about 1 1/2 the diameter of the rivet's stated diameter. If it's larger than this, the shop head is too flat, and can easily chafe or fail. If it is smaller than this, then the shop head has not been smashed enough, and it needs to be worked more. If not, then the other metal has the potential to slip back out (and while working on aircraft, this can be a very, very bad thing.)
2) Make sure to use the right materal composition. Using Aluminum rivets while trying to rivet two pieces of steel together is a bad idea. Corrosion has a potential to form between two different metals, so to prevent this, it is wise to use the same materal as the rivet.
3) Operate a powered (pneumatic or electeric) rivet gun with the retaining spring on the hammer die no matter what. This is constantly overlooked, and is in my opinion, one of the most dangerous hazards of riveting. Without the spring in place, the hammering head has the potentional to fly out of the gun at a VERY high rate of speed that can endanger you or anyone around you.
Now then, we may begin...
This step is the overall understanding of riveting, also assuming you have your materals to be riveted together, and the correct rivet to do so with. First, place the rivet in the predrilled hole. Notice the end sticking out the other side. Is it sticking out about 1 1/2 the rivet diameter? It better be, or else the final product may not be too structurally sound. Next, place the rivet gun with the correct die, on the top (usually the rounded or angled end) of the rivet, and place your bucking bar (just a wieghted steel or iron block with a flat surface) on the other end of the rivet. Make sure that the bucking bar is sitting perpendicular to the surface of the rivet. Next (and the most violent part of riveting) squeeze the trigger on the rivet gun (making sure you have a firm grip on the gun) and hammer the rivet while pushing with the bucking bar. Do so for a two to three second burst and check to see if the shop head is at a proper diameter yet.
Repeat until the shop head is flattened to 1 1/2 the diameter of the rivet.
Inspect your work. Ask your self these questions.
1)Is the rivet head chafed or nicked? If so, replace the rivet.
2)Is the shop head chafed or nicked? Once again, if so, replace the rivet.
3)Is the shop head perpendicular to the materals that were riveted together? If not, replace the rivet.
Riveting is a skill that must be honed over time, at first you don't succeed, try, try again.