What is a RivetNut / Nutsert tool and how do I use it?


Every once in a while you find a tool that you think ‘wow, that job would have sucked without that tool’. This Rivet nut tool is one of them! I recently (almost) finished my fuel tank enclosure from 14 gauge sheetmetal that I assembled exclusively with rivetnuts. As of now there isn’t a single weld anywhere on it.

I briefly dove into my rivetnut tool on my post Part 4 – DIY Gas Tank Lift for Offroad Clearance on Vitara Tracker but I don’t quite think I gave enough credit for how awesome these tools actually are. You can literally build just about anything out of sheetmetal or thin tubing WITHOUT WELDING.

What is a RivetNut / Nutsert?

A Rivet Nut or Nutsert is a threaded nut that gets crimped into a hole with a special tool similar to a rivet gun.

DIY Gas Tank Lift Relocation- Vitara Tracker without Body Lift

Why would we need it?

When working with sheetmetal it is often that you need a captive nut to bolt together two pieces of metal. Think of things like a removable cover or threaded holes to bolt on a hinge. Many times you can’t or don’t want to weld on the metal due to the possibility of warping, burning off paint, etc. When working with auto body you often can’t get to the backside to weld on a nut even if you wanted to.

With rivet nuts all you need is a single hole and enough room to get the tool in to crimp it. No sheetmetal deformation, painting, grinding, etc.

DIY Gas Tank Lift Relocation- Vitara Tracker without Body Lift
Here is the backside of a rivet nut after crimping.

Where do you buy one of these tools?

I got mine a LONG time ago at NAPA, but today I would just get one off Amazon (way cheaper). I actually just today ordered more rivnuts on Amazon and they were half the price of what I saw at NAPA Auto Parts.

Small

The Marson brand tool below is the exact same as the one I have. It has a right angle to the head so it is good for tighter spaces. It will do 8-32, 10-24, 10-32, 1/4-20, 5/16-18.

Below is a link to it and also another similar one I found on Amazon in case the Marson is out of your budget.

Medium

This second rivet nut tool is bigger and can do up to 3/8″ nutserts. I would imagine the larger levers make it easier to crimp the nuts. The downfall with the larger levers is that you can’t get the tool into tight spaces.
I don’t have one of these… I’ll have to conjure up a future project that needs threads that large so I have an excuse to buy one. hmmm…

Large

Here is the BIG DADDY rivet nut tool. This monster will do 1/2″ threaded holes 😮

Rivet Nut Types:

There are all kinds of metal types, thread types and sizes on the nuts themselves for whatever your project is: Aluminum, Steel, Stainless Steel, Metric, Standard, etc.

Metric Thread:

Standard thread:

Semi-finished product of my gas tank enclosure

The top and all of the sides are quickly removable with nothing more than a 7/16″ socket and ratchet. It is really quick to take apart with a battery powered impact. You can see the final appearance with everything bolted together is really clean. See more pictures and details here: Part 4 – DIY Gas Tank Lift for Offroad Clearance on Vitara Tracker

DIY Gas Tank Lift Relocation- Vitara Tracker without Body Lift
Here you can see the pieces bolted together. I told you the nutserts are awesome….

Conclusion

Hope this helps you with your projects. There are a lot of ways to get the job done and this is just one of them. Cheers to adding another tool/talent to your toolbox.

Now YOU, get outside and work on something!

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