How Do I Take Out a Rivet If I Make a Mistake?

DIY culture is all about trying, even if you don’t quite know yet if what you are doing will work since you have never done it before. That means you make mistakes.

Take rivet Gun, for instance. Let’s say you are installing some and then realize there is something you should have done first. Now you have to remove the rivets, but you don’t know how. What should you do?

There are a few methods, but for now we will focus on one method: drilling it out.


1. Create a Divot In The Rivet’s Head

Step one is to create a divot in the rivet’s head. You will need a prick punch for this, holding it against the rivet’s head (top) and striking at the punch’s end with a hammer. This then creates a slight dent in the rivet’s head.

More than one strike may be necessary to create a divot that’s deep enough, something a drill bit can firmly grip into.

Caution: strike carefully, lest you miss the punch and hit your hand instead.

Note: spring-loaded punches don’t need use of the hammer and can punch the rivet on their own.

2. Attach Drill Bit

The next step is to look for a drill bit that fits perfectly into the divot you have created. You want one that has enough length to penetrate all the way.

The bit should also be thin enough to fit comfortably into the divot.

In addition, the bit should be equal in size or smaller than the rivet. For instance, if you are dealing with a ¼-inch rivet, look for a ¼-inch drill bit.

After inserting the drill bit, tighten the chuck to ensure the bit is as secure and tight as possible, no looseness.

3. Add Lubricant

Once the drill starts going, it will generate friction and heat. Lubricate the end of the drill bit to ensure it is able to drill through the rivet without overheating or any damage.

How to apply the lubricant: with your fingers, spreading it over the bit’s end.

Drilling lubricant is available online or at your local hardware store.

4. Wear Safety Glasses

Since rivets are metallic, the drilling process might generate sparks or cause fragments to fly into the air. Your eyes are vulnerable, and that’s why you must wear safety glasses to protect them.

Caution: standard eye glasses do not qualify as protection. You need safety glasses – they must fit securely.

5. Position Drill Bit Against Divot

Put the drill bit into position, fitting it into the divot.

Apply some pressure to steadily hold the bit’s end against the rivet. Don’t apply too much, though, lest the bit slip off the divot and cause scratches on the surface containing the rivet.

With one hand, you hold the handle and apply pressure, and with the other hand you hold the drill itself.

6. Drill At a Slow But Steady Pace

Drilling through a metal rivet requires pressure not speed. Start the drill off at a slow pace, applying firm pressure.

If the rivet begins to smoke, add lubricant. Do so too if the bit begins to have trouble with speed.

7. Drive The Rivet Out

With constant pressure and a steady pace, the drill will gradually push the rivet through the entire hole and out. Keep drilling until it’s completely out – this is why you need a bit that is as long as the rivet.


That’s how you take out a rivet. It’s not difficult, as you can see. If you have a drill, hammer, and prick prunch available, you are good to go.

Do take all the safety precautions necessary. Wear safety glasses to protect your eyes from sparks and any bits of metal that might chip off the rivet’s metallic surface. In addition, be very careful when handling the drill and the hammer.


I am Samantha, an automobile engineer and POD business owner. I am also a wife of Jason and a mother of three children, two of whom are twins. I am passionate about making a difference in the world and strive to be a role model for my children. I believe that hard work and dedication can lead to success, no matter what your circumstances may be. I have a passion for cars and enjoy working on them in my spare time. I am excited to be able to share my knowledge and experience with you. Stay connected !

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