Taking Shots at a Better Assembly Process

Designing and testing assembly prototypes can be challenging. When you think you've found the solution, you wind up with more issues to overcome. Quality test after quality test bring both victories and failures. Here at Orbitform, we like to call those failures “lessons learned.” We thrive on helping our customers work through those lessons and overcome challenges early in the product development process.


A manufacturer of gun components was having issues securing their assembly. The subcomponents were held together with a custom “set screw” style fastener through threaded holes. During use, the component was facing several challenges with heat, rotation, and vibration. Rapid use raised the temperature of the component which disabled the thread lockers. The fastener was a pivot joint that turned both directions during use and reset causing rotational issues after testing. After sustained use, the vibration caused the fastener to back out of the hole. The manufacturer turned to Orbitform, hoping that orbital riveting might solve these issues.

Lab testing

Orbitform's assembly experts ran sample parts in our Solution's Lab to determine if we could overcome these challenges. The manufacturer wanted to test a new fastener design with both coated and non-coated rivets. Our lab technicians tried both orbital and radial riveting. After the first few tests, the manufacturer found that the parts that used coated rivets and were formed orbitally moved more freely than those formed radially with non-coated.

Our technicians found that orbital riveting prevented the pins from buckling by putting less downward load on the shank than radial riveting. However, orbital riveting did remove more of the coating during the forming.

What if?

After reviewing several sample parts, the manufacturer posed a second possible solution. Could we form the material around the rivet instead of the rivet itself? Based on the results of using coated fasteners in the first few tests, our experts believed this might be a viable solution. The manufacturer redesigned the subcomponents with a blind hole and sent more samples to our Solutions Lab. We tested both orbital and radial riveting again, upsetting the aluminum component to retain the coated pin. While both processes resulted in a functioning pivot point, radial riveting minimized the removal of the coating on the subcomponent.

Machine Solution

After working with the manufacturer in our lab, our experts were able to determine the right process to meet their requirements and overcome their challenges. As a result of the lab testing, we provided the appropriate equipment to form viable parts - A BR-125 Bench-Top Radial Riveter.

When it comes to manufacturing, there are always going to be challenges. Part failures can happen in the first prototype or the tenth. However, each failure is a lesson learned and a chance to improve. Partnering with our assembly experts means you can benefit from the lessons we have learned before, and we can work with you to overcome your unique challenges. Contact us today to discuss your prototype development.