Aluminum pop rivets get their name from the sound they make during installation. The rivet's center is called a mandrel, and the mandrel's lower part remains with the rivet after installation. The upper part "pops" when the rivet is installed. Pop rivets often bind pieces of sheet metal, such as in air ducts and automobiles. When a pop rivet needs to removed, the general practice is to drill out the rivet. That procedure can be problematic if the rivet begins to turn with the drill bit. You can remove a pop rivet without a drill by using the proper tools and basic do-it-yourself skills.
Position the leading end of an aluminum flat file directly over the pop rivet.
Apply pressure to the file, and push its full length forward over the rivet. Lift the file from the rivet, and repeat the procedure.
Clean aluminum granules from the file periodically with a file cleaner brush. Follow the grooves of the file with the tines of the file brush to remove the accumulated aluminum.
File the rivet using the same technique until you remove the rivet's top.
Tap the lower part of the rivet out of its hole using a hammer and the appropriate size punch.