Rivets, Pins & Keys

Ensuring you have the right fastener or fixing type is crucial when undertaking a new project or securing materials together. Rivets, pins and keys are all designed to maintain a tight and secure fastening and lessen the likelihood of loosening. Here at Cromwell, we have a wide range of rivets. Pins and keys from our trusted exclusive brands Qualfast®, Senator® and Kennedy®.

What are rivets, pins and keys?

Whilst all three types of product are designed for fastening two materials or objects together, they work in slightly different ways. Rivets are a permanent fixture that are primarily designed for attaching two pieces of sheet metal together. They possess a head and a stem and are inserted into sheet metal via a riveting tool to hold them in place.

Pins such as cotter pins, are used to bolster the strength of a fastener, used in conjunction with a pre-existing nut or bolt for added rigidity and hold. Some types of pins are used in precision alignment such as dowel pins whilst panel pins are used in mostly woodworking applications.

Why rivets, pins and keys?

In some applications involving specific materials such as sheet metal or wood, ordinary fasteners don't possess the necessary features for a strong hold. Rivets are often used in applications that require a tighter and stronger hold. Pins are often used in applications that require extreme precision and a smooth, neat permanent fixture.

When are rivets, pins and keys used?

Rivets, pins and keys are often used in mechanical applications where sheet metal is the primary material being used. They are commonly used across multiple industrial sectors including the aerospace, shipbuilding and mechanical engineering industries.

Rivets, pins and keys types

There are numerous types of rivets, pins and keys all of which have slightly different functions and suited applications. Below, we've listed the most commonly used types and have outline their primary applications to ensure you find the right product no matter your needs.

Circlips - Also referred to as retaining rings, snap rings, E-clips and Jesus clips, circlips are used to secure dowel pins in mechanisms that have a rotating motion. Circlips can be split into two main types; internal and external.

Rivets - These are used in lap or butt joints in sheet metal and are designed for being hammered into the two pieces of metal to create a firm and lasting hold.

Cotter pins - Also known as splitter pins, cotter pins are designed for use in conjunction with other fasteners to bolster strength and ensure a firm hold. They possess two parallel prongs and a U shaped eyelet which is inserted into nuts and then bent to lock and hold them in place around the fastener.

Dowel pins - Designed for precision alignment, dowel pins are essentially steel rods that are used as location guides within machinery.

Panel pins - Small and lightweight, panel pins are a type of nail that is designed to be hammered into wood.

Rivet nuts - Sometimes referred to as blind rivets, rivet nuts are comprised of an expanding threaded sleeve that is designed for insertion into pre-drilled holes to form a permanent fixture.

Considerations when choosing rivets, pins and keys

Application - Depending on the material that you are working with and your intended application, your choice of rivet, pin or key will be determined by this.

Material - Rivets, pins and keys come in a variety of materials from steel or brass to durable plastics such as nylon. It's best to consider which material would best suit your desired application.

Size - The size of your pre-drilled or threaded hole will determine the size rivet, pin or key that you will need. Always be sure to purchase a rivet, pin or key that is suited for your intended hole.

Type - As listed above, there are various types of rivets, pins and keys all with slightly different functions and applications. Be sure to select the right product for your desired application.

Rivets, pins and keys jargon buster

We want to make it easier for you to shop our range of rivets, pins and keys, so we've outlined some key terminology to ensure you make an informed purchasing decision.

What do BS Standards mean?

The British Standards Institute is the main standards body that oversees and defines product standards in Britain. When a standard begins with the letters BS, this denotes that it meets or passes the standard set by the British Standards Institute.


How are rivets installed?

Rivets are installed by a riveting tool. This tool draws the mandrel of the rivet, which essentially causes it to distort, making it extremely difficult for the rivet to be taken out once in place. This ensures a firm hold.