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Old 09-11-2017, 07:30 AM   #1
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Default Removing machine tags

I'm in the process of restoring an old lathe and I've got to the stage where I want to remove the name tags and data labels in preparation for painting.
They are made of thin aluminium sheet appear to be held in place with round headed aluminium nails.
There was one tag which was so mangled that it won't be going back on so I used it to see how to best remove others.
I couldn't get a grip on the heads of the "nails" with a pair of pliers so I tried levering them off with a slim cold chisel. It worked OK but the plate ended up badly bent.
Is there a trick to getting them off?
If all else fails, I suppose the best way of removing them without damaging the tags would be to drill them out.
Also, does anyone know the correct term for the "nails" and where to get them from?
Alan C.

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Old 09-11-2017, 08:42 AM   #2
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Are they not just blind rivets?

I'd like to be a perfectionist, but I lack the patience...not to mention the skill...
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Old 09-11-2017, 10:57 AM   #3
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We always used to use hammer drive screws on labels. The only way to make a good job is grind a small flat on the head, carefully centre mark and drill out. If you are replacing with the same you can usually measure the drill size from the end of the new screws
This is what you need to look for
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Old 09-11-2017, 12:43 PM   #4
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I think these are called "drive rivets," although I may be mis-remembering today.
Anyway, Keith Rucker (YouTube: Search "Keith Rucker" or "Vintage Machinery") talks quite a bit about them as he has restored a LeBlond lathe and is currently working on a 16-inch Monarch lathe, as well as other old machinery. He also demonstrates techniques to restore and repaint old tags so that they are readable.

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Old 09-11-2017, 01:25 PM   #5
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They are usually hardened. I have had success using a wood chisel under the
the tag and rivit head.Doesnt do the chisel asny good and usually knackers the label
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Old 09-11-2017, 09:00 PM   #6
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The information plate on the gearbox of my South Bend 9A had the same type of round headed fastener. It turned out to be a threaded pin that was hammered into place. To remove it I cut a slot in the head with a Dremel tool and simply backed it out with a screw driver. Very easy. This may or may not be your situation, but it might be worth a try. John.
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Old 09-12-2017, 06:24 AM   #7
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Hi all,
Thanks for the comments and suggestions. I tried cutting a slot and screwing the fastener out with no joy. The fasteners on my lathe seem to be made of aluminium with tapered shafts and are hammered in.
I ended up using a 1/2" wood chisel as John suggested. The trick is to use the corner of the chisel and drive it across the head near its base but clear of the tag. When the chisel has bitten into the aluminium the chisel is then angled while continuing to tap it so that the head is forced upwards. When it was clear of the tag by a millimeter or so, I gripped it with the end of a big pair of pliers and twisted and pulled at the same time which extracted the fastener. I've managed to remove all three tags with minimal damage to them.
I'm not sure what I'll use to reattach the tags. The holes are 3/32" diameter. If I can find a similar product I'll use that otherwise I'll either tap them for screws or drill the holes out to 1/8" and use pop rivets.\
Alan C.
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Old 09-13-2017, 05:22 PM   #8
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Drive rivets (what we call those things around here) are stocked by most of the larger hardware stores. Think McMaster Carr here.

There is a possibility that the tags where removed before, sometimes these machines get rebuilt several times before the current owner takes possession. If so the rivet holes could be worn out requiring upsizing or replacement with something else.

As for something else, drilling and tapping can work but the screw heads can be a bother in some locations.

One modern consideration is glues or sealants. Ive actually have had success with Loctite thread locker for smaller labels and tags. You just need to secure said label in place until the Loctite sets up. Super Glue is another possibility. I haven't done large labels this way, think pushbutton size or a bit larger. I do know that the loctite worked where other glues failed.

Then you have the RTV like sealants which can have a tremendous grip and should be considered to be more permanent than drive rivets.

So depending upon the location and the labels size you really have lots of options for reattachment. Id go with the original method if at all possible.
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Old 09-13-2017, 06:04 PM   #9
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Hammer drive screws are what you need they come in all sizes and material

Smaller amounts should be obtainable.

Last edited by Mike1; 09-13-2017 at 06:08 PM. Reason: extra info
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Old 09-14-2017, 06:28 AM   #10
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Thanks Wizard and Mike. At least I know what they are called now. I'll try the local fastener suppliers tomorrow.


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