How To Sell Scrap Carbide, Tungsten Carbide, Cemented Carbide

Carbide is commonly regarded as the most valuable type of scrap a person can happen upon. I, for one, always get the biggest kick out of getting even a little WC! The hardest part is discovering where to find scrap carbide!

What is Tungsten Carbide?

Carbide will often be coated in a titanium compound,
like those pictured above.

Tungsten carbide is one of the strongest material used by man. It is almost as hard as diamonds. I don’t think it is worth going into specifics, so lets just say… IT IS STRONG!

Scrap tungsten carbide, aka scrap carbide, is commonly found in mill tools, as carbide tools can last decades with just a few sharpenings.

Tungsten Carbide, is also very heavy! VERY HEAVY! It is twice as heavy as steel, almost as heavy as gold. It doesn’t take very much to yield a few pounds, so serious money can pile up quickly!

What is the difference between Carbide and Tungsten Carbide?

Let me clarify some of the confusion! There are actually 3 technical terms often thrown around by scrappers. In a scrap yard, they all basically mean the same thing: tungsten carbide impregnated metal.

  • Tungsten Carbide: This is, in fact, *technically* NOT a metal. (…What!?) It is a ceramic compound of Tungsten (W) and Carbon (C), hence the chemical formula WC. Tungsten Carbide is actually very rarely used in plane ceramic form, if ever. Tungsten Carbide is also used in compounds of two parts tungsten, aka W2C. This however is actually tungsten semicarbide.
  • Cemented Carbide: THIS is what most of us think of when we hear “carbide.” It is actually between 5% and 25% Cobalt by weight. To explain why, think of cemented carbide like Jell-O with a lot of fruit. The cobalt acts like the Jell-O, and the tungsten carbide is super-dense, ass-kicking fruit that makes the jello much denser, and much stronger. Obviously, the Jell-O with more fruit is stronger, and the cemented carbide with lots of WC is very strong.
  • Carbide: This is a material scientist’s word for “a compound of carbon with something more electro-negative.” So, technically, its not specific enough, and could be referring to any carbide compound. That’s ok, because if your scrapping, we’ll all know that you actually mean cemented carbide.
This small spark
signals value.

How to Identify Carbide, aka The Spark Test:

A very simple way to identify carbide, is to spark test it. Carbide has a spark test which yields a VERY dark, red, short spark. This is different from HSS (high speed steel) which will often have a longer, whiter spark, plus a few forks.

Please remember, it is very dense. So if you have a similarly sized piece of steel, carbide should weigh about twice as much as the steel.

That’s fine and dandy, but where do I sell it?

Of course, everybody’s scrap yard will buy scrap carbide. It’s just a wonderful thing to get! It doesn’t take up much space at all, and can be sold in small quantities easily. My scrap yard will only pay me between about $5 per pound of carbide, but the truth is that YOU CAN SELL IT ON EBAY or to other larger, carbide-specific, scrap yards for $10 per pound!!!!

Remember, the value of things on eBay ultimately have some fees taken out, but if you are not getting paid at least $9 dollars a pound at your local yard, SELL IT ON EBAY! You will usually make out like a bandit.

Good Luck Scrapping!

{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Brian Paone April 2, 2011 at 8:38 am

Awesome! So where can I harvest tungsten carbide? I see some drill bits up there, but can't ID those other bits you've got pictured.


The Irrationalist April 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

In general, you find it in the form of tools: reamers, drills, inserts, tips saw teeth, ect. What you see in the picture is a an assortment of all of the above, especially lathe tools.


Anonymous May 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm

Going to be hard to find machine shops know what everything is worth.


Rob December 24, 2011 at 8:54 am

Love your site big time. Learning everyday. As far as the carbide is concerned…is the metal holding the copper wire in tv’s, rotisserie ovens, breadmakers, etc. actually carbide? They are very heavy. But, I’m just not sure what kind they are.
Thanks for the help.


ScrapMetalJunkie December 24, 2011 at 10:55 pm

No. That is actually made of ferrite.


RECOMAQ March 8, 2012 at 1:18 pm



R C LAW April 23, 2012 at 6:32 pm

i ve got tungsten discs for sale annode out of x ray tubes non radioactive


R C LAW April 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm

i have cathode ray anodes for sale tungsten what price per pound


brandon April 29, 2012 at 3:37 am

Is tungsten carbide magnetic?


ScrapMetalJunkie April 29, 2012 at 6:06 am

carbide tools are all magnetic, but not as much as steel.

The compound tungston carbide (WC) on the other hand, is not magnetic. What makes carbide tools magnetic, as I tried to describe above, is the cobalt that is used in cemented carbide, aka “carbide”.


Timothy Ramsey June 21, 2012 at 2:19 am

Have 200 pounds of carbide right now for sell also 2000 pounds of gr2 titanium scrap and more comming looking for someone honist to take all


alen jessy June 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm

really great information to help me a lot keep posting like this.


brain July 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Hi, I would like to know how much a pound of carbide inserts would cost if I sold it to you? thanks


Marcus@scrap carbide prices July 10, 2012 at 6:53 am

In popular, you discover it by means of tools: reamers, routines, places, guidelines saw tooth, ect. What you see in the image is a an variety of all of the above, especially lathe assets.


Terry September 25, 2012 at 2:53 pm

I have roughly 100# of carbide inserts, how much per lb can I get for them?


John Mcdonald October 28, 2012 at 5:24 am

Call me junkman. (910)9846539


Flathead October 7, 2012 at 3:57 am

Great site, thanks for all of your time and effort. I have read much, as well as learned some to boot. Maybe you have covered this, but how does one recover carbide tips from saws blades. Thank you in advance.



Jorden November 29, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Ok so I work at the movie theatre, and it takes some pretty big bulbs to run the projectors. Now ive busted one of the bulbs before and theres like a dime size cone of metal. Its very dense for its size. I would like to identify the metal and see how much theyre worth. Cuz if we just throw these bulbs away, screw it ill just harvest the tungsten if thats what it is inside…


ScrapMetalJunkie December 3, 2012 at 7:34 am

I would save the metal cone piece! It makes sense that it would be tungsten! But tungsten and tungsten carbide are very different materials. I would suggest using starting off identifying the material by using The Magnet Test!


Anna April 4, 2013 at 5:46 pm

The cone shaped pieces (anodes) and the rod it is connected to are Tungsten. The braided cord is copper. The round piece that the rod is connected to is a mix. The large anode is about 1/2 lb so it adds up fast. If you smack the rod with a hammer (be careful of the glass insulation) it will break away from the round piece. I’m sure you know but make sure to properly explode the bulb before you go smacking on it. Tungsten is used because it is the only metal that can hold up to the heat that a xenon gas(highly explosive) filled bulb generates.


Luki January 28, 2013 at 5:17 pm

where can I get in Europe good prices for inserts carbide?


Fredrick chabala April 4, 2013 at 4:19 am

Were in south africa can get the best price of tungstan do u have agents


Seamus McGowan April 18, 2013 at 11:42 pm

I have a few pieces of material that is used for vibration dampening. I believe it is Tungsten. It is not magnetic and has very little spark(red) when grinding. It is at least twice as heavy as steel. I checked online for prices, but only see prices for tungsten carbide. What should I expect for this non-magnetic tungsten?(presuming that’s what it is)


Jay May 11, 2013 at 7:20 pm

Hi, I have a load of used Tungsten Carbide Burrs, would it be worthwhile cutting the steel stems off or not? Also, i live in UK so would it be worth shipping to USA if i sell on the International Ebay? Or would selling on UK’s Ebay be better?
Thanks in advance.


K. Sounderrajan September 10, 2013 at 5:05 am

do you still have the WC burrs? if so please send your best offer on CIf Haldia with actual photos.


Jason July 11, 2013 at 7:54 pm

I just sold some inserts and end mills. The end mills I did the grinding test and the spark was dense. When the buyer received the scrap he contacted me and said the end mills were not carbide. What do you Suggest I do about this situation.


geoff October 31, 2014 at 7:12 am

there are 2 common types of endmills. one is described above as carbide. the other is hss or high speed steel both will spark. however there is a rather noticeable weight difference between the 2. most high speed end mills and other tools made of it have hss on the side. i would also suggest using the numbers on the side to find specs on a manufacturers website as the numbers if they are visible will tell you what it is made of.


Marty September 3, 2013 at 1:17 pm

We have 1 metric ton of 99.97 tungsten any offers?


Mehul October 21, 2013 at 2:54 pm

I need scrap diamond bits , chisel and dresser .we need its always so Do you have this type of item so give me mail …thank you


bole February 22, 2014 at 9:00 am

I am selling tungsten carbide for a many years in one company in Germany.
Now they reduce me the price becose some part of materials is not clean.
They say that is some Morgan rolls?? I never hear abouth that since a work with this material.
Can you tell me is this true or they just want to buy from me for a less price?

Please e mail me! Thank you


sarah March 24, 2014 at 10:27 am

I have a men’s wedding band made out of tungsten. I was wondering if jewelry scrappers take it, an if so what it would be worth?


ALEX August 9, 2014 at 2:26 pm

can anyone please explain
1) difference between WOLFRAM and tungsten
2) what is the scrap value of COBALT content in tungsten/ wolfram


ALEX August 9, 2014 at 2:27 pm

can anyone please explain
1) difference between WOLFRAM and tungsten
2) what is the scrap value of COBALT content in tungsten/ wolfram


kenneth August 18, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I have some metal Ido not know what is.. Hrad to melt bot comes out really shinny .harden fast and cools fast.Thin peaces can not bend or break.If melt in cast iron while liqid can take trash of top.I THINK some kind of tungsten. I have about 6 pounds.Wound like to send some off to see what is.


Lori October 1, 2014 at 3:41 am

Brass in colour pretty heavy welding tips what kind of metal is it???


Lori October 1, 2014 at 3:43 am

Tungsten what is that ???


Petr Cibulka October 24, 2014 at 6:54 am


My company trades in Czech Republic with waste carbide. I’m looking for a new subscriber to this material. Monthly we trade 8,000 kg of this material and then another HSS, Mo, ​​W, Co and td.
Can you write your purchase price and what you are able to redeem?

Thank you

Petr Cibulka
B & C Trade Ltd.
+420 605200507


Todd December 3, 2014 at 3:10 am

As a machinist who deals with carbide tooling every day, I will tell you all “Good Luck” with this hunt. we keep our scrap carbide under tighter lock and key than our material scrap (as do most shops). Look at it as kind of like poor people keeping aluminum cans… anything to help cut operation costs. Chances are you’re not going to be able to to talk shops out of their carbide or scrap metal as a lot states here in the U.S. offer incentives for recycling and buy back programs for manufacturers. If you have a buddy who has a small (or big) home machine shop and they just throw their inserts away or maybe a local tire changing shop (most newer break rotor turning machines use carbide inserts since they’re basically lathes), those are probably your best bets to score some scrap carbide. But, if you’re gonna go to some machine shops and talk to them about maybe scoring some of their carbide, you should sound like you know what you’re talking about or they might just laugh you out the door. Remember they’re not drill bits… they’re drills. that nifty device with a battery you use to drive your drill through things or drive screws into things is a cordless driver. A bit goes in a horse’s mouth.


ryan lao May 25, 2015 at 5:03 am

how much per kilo and how many minimum


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