If there's a simpler way to do it, I'm all ears. Yes, I wanted a longer tip but couldn't find one...
The bit sizes were listed on the instructions that came with the kit. I had no problem making them work. (3/16" or #12 on rivets and 1/8" or #29 for screws)
However, I did check bit sizes against the rivet shaft size with one of those plastic hole measuring thingees that you get in the bolts and nails section of the hardware store.
As you probably know, more than half of any mechanical job is just getting the right tools to do the work...
The rivet gun, as mentioned in an earlier post, is a standard Sears gun for about $10. I'll post a pic sometime. (But, hey, there's more for your life at Sears!)
The deal with the too short tip and small piece of 10 gauge or 1/8" thick metal is simple, but difficult to describe. Here goes --
The first problem to avoid is that you don't want the rivet gun even touching the track when you pop the rivet or you will damage the track.
The second problem (for me) was that the part inside the gun that grabs and pulls the rivet WOULD NOT firmly grab enough of the shaft of the rivet to do the pulling. If the gun doesn't go down on the rivet shaft far enough, it will not bite the rivet firmly enough, slip, and leave you with a partially pulled rivet and a mess.
To solve the second problem, I filed down the sides of the tip on the gun so it would go down into the 3/8" wide track far enough to grab the rivet shaft securely AND not touch the sides of the track.
But, the gun tip still wasn't flat tight on the rivet head itself because the tip still wouldn't extend down far enough without touching the top of the track. It would grab the rivet shank OK, but the tip absolutely must be flat on the rivet head without the gun touching the track and it wasn't.
To solve that problem, I found that old piece of 10 gauge or 1/8" thick metal -- you can use whatever is handy -- and I drilled a 3/16" hole in it for the rivet shaft and then cut the piece out to fit into the 3/8" wide track.
The dance steps go:
1. Lay the track in the correct position and mark the holes.
2. Lightly center punch the holes to stop the drill from wandering before you drill, double check everything and then drill.
3. Put the track on the crossbar and put the first rivet in the hole. Check all the holes for alignment.
4. Next, I put the small piece of metal with the 3/16" hole in it down over the rivet shaft and flat up against the rivet head.
5. Then I put the gun down on the rivet shaft until it is flat against the metal spacer, held down hard allowing no movement, and squeezed like a gorilla. Until it popped. Actually it takes two or so pumps of the gun before it pops. Then moved the spacer and gun to the next rivet and so on.
Said another way...
Because I filed the sides of the tip on the gun down, it would then extend about 1/4" down into the track and grab the rivet shank securely. I couldn't do this before because the tip was a little more than 3/8" wide and wouldn't extend into the 3/8" wide track at all. (The track is 3/8" deep as well as 3/8" wide.)
After filing the tip, I still had a small gap between the rivet gun tip and the rivet head. To close the remaining gap, I made a spacer from scrap metal with an 3/16" hole in it. Now I could hold the rivet head down tight and pop the rivet correctly without having the gun touch either the sides or top of the track.
The reason it is important to put a flat surface against the rivet head is that the head will shape into whatever is holding it down when you pop the rivet. There is a huge amount of pressure shaping the rivet head as you pop it. As I said in the other post, what holds the rivet head down has to be a flat surface like the rivet gun tip or you have a mess.
In other words, if you use something that has an indentation in it, it will leave a raised surface that the car will whack it as it rolls by.
I screwed up my first rivet and had to drill it out. If that happens and you drill carefully, it'll remove OK.
I tip my hat to Brad if he did that with washers for the spacer.
There probably is a gun with a specially designed tip for this job. If so, all these details are completely unnecessary. I just couldn't find one quickly. There are a lot of boats with these traveler tracks on them. If I didn't live 3 hours from the nearest Hobie dealer, I'd probably gotten a clue on this, but...
BTW, I put the car in the track before I popped the first rivet.
I know this is overkill on details but if I have left out any parts, let me know. I figure Matt will show up sometime and say, "What the heck!?"
Half of fun of owning a boat is outfitting it anyway, right? Right? What?! NO??!!!