Originally Posted by IronMaiden
A guy that owns a trucking company next to my shop keeps asking me to fix his trailers that are riveted.
How do you do use one of those tools?
Do you just hold a dolly behind the rivet and hammer away?
Basically, yeah. The dolly is referred to as a bucking bar, and there is a bit of skill involved. For large skins, you usually need two people, one to run the gun, and one to hold the bucking bar. This requires some practice, and usually more skill to hold the bucking bar than run the gun. There are bucking bars available in all different shapes and sizes, or you can make your own. You also need to have the right "set" (the part that goes where the chisel would on the gun) for the shape of rivet you are using. The 9X gun that I linked is way overkill for all but the largest rivets; we needed one in the shop the other day, but only to knock out a seized up bolt on a 737 thrust reverser. Aircraft riveting is more normally done using a 2-4x gun. I personally use a 3X recoilless gun from US Tool that is capable of setting up to 5/32" AD (hard) rivets, with bucking bars of my own construction. I've been seriously lusting after one of the new tungsten bars that are becoming popular.
Here is a basic tutorial; the first part of it covers bucked rivet installation:
Aircraft Construction, Riveted Joints
And here is the actual mil spec:
Rivet Application and Installation - Engineers Edge
Here is a picture of the bucking bars that I made. The leather cases are to prevent the polished surfaces from getting scratched; that may have been a bit excessive on my part: