Scrapper’s Handbook

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How To Scrap a…

Identifying Scrap Metal


Scrap Metal Identification

 Carbide
Copper
CuproNickel
Ferrite
Heating Elements
Inconel
Lead
Mercury
Nickel
Rare Earth Metals, Elements, or Oxides
Stainless Steel

Sorting Scrap Metal


THE SPARK TEST
THE MAGNET TEST


Aluminum vs. Stainless Steel
Optimization
Reverse Engineering
Scrap Metal Identification
Where To Find Scrap Magnets
XRF Handheld Metal Analyzer Gun

{ 40 comments… read them below or add one }

James Wolf September 28, 2011 at 4:18 pm

Hi Dan,

Thank you for all of the information. I have been wanting to get into scrapping for quite some time now. But, my ignorance along with a lack of available information has prevented me from doing so. Your site is just what I have been looking for. One question – I notice that you don’t have any tutorials on scrapping DVD and/or VHS players. Are they not worth scrapping. Was also curious about printers and fax machines. Once again thanks a lot. I know how much time it takes to run a site of this caliber.

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ScrapMetalJunkie September 28, 2011 at 5:33 pm

Wow! Thanks a lot for the comment, and I’m glad you like the site!

If you haven’t been to a scrap yard before, you will want to try it to test the waters. Every scrap yard I know of will buy VHS and DVD players at “shred price”, as is. So there is no need to disassemble them. Right now, a VHS player or DVD player is worth ~ 1-2 dollar as scrap. If you were to tear it down (which takes ~10 minutes) then you would have about $2-$3 worth of scrap metal. In my opinion, it is not worth the time to tear them apart.

If you were to tear them apart however, you would cut all the wire, and set it off to the side. You would pull out any aluminum heat sinks that may be present, and then you would pull out any transformers (which get bought separately for about 2.5x as much as “shred”).

Printers and fax machines are a bit more tricky, and may not get bought by your scrap yard. (because they have a lot of plastic)

If you havn’t already, join our Forum and talk to me and the other scrappers about jumping into the business!

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Rik October 19, 2011 at 2:34 am

Thanks for all the info mate!

Spent hours looking for a site like this, im in Perth WA and am looking to start collecting scrap metal, just need a van/tipper.
Originally from England and need info on any good dealers in northern suburbs Perth

Thanks again

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ScrapMetalJunkie October 19, 2011 at 2:42 am

Thanks for the kind words! You may also like our Scrap Metal Forum!

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Ali December 28, 2011 at 12:41 pm

Hi Dan,

Great Website.

I live in the UK, I have a contact in Turkey who manufactures Brass Rods, Billets and bronze products. Its a fairly big manufacturer. They are interested in getting non ferrous scrap metal from the UK. I have been asked by them to do the research. However I am little stuck where to start. I would like to get into this business as there seems to be good opportunities to make good returns. Do I go around scrap metal yards if so what do I ask, Sorry to have an abstract question as such but any guidance would be very welcome.

Thank You

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DTUndercover August 14, 2012 at 11:20 am

unless you know the person personally DONT DEAL OVERSEAS… sounds like a scammer to me mate…

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Andrew Goulet January 9, 2012 at 3:54 am

Do you have any first hand experience scrapping out a mobile home?? Any advice in taking on a job like that?

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ScrapMetalJunkie January 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Yes, and I have also scrapped trailers! It is hard work. Do not expect to make enough from the scrap to pay for your time. Always charge for removal of Trailers, especially if you have to pay for garbage hauling. It is tough work that may require permits, and if somebody thinks its easy to get done for free, they are mistaken. It is profitable work, but only if done professionally, with the right equipment, and with experience. If you don’t have anything better to do, and you are going to work for, and with, trustworthy people, then it is worth doing if only for experience.

Mobil homes, engine and all, aluminum shell, etc, are great scrap items! They often can be sold to a scrap yard “as is”, but some scrap yards deduct a “bulk” free if they deem it to have to much non-metal. If the mobil home has a frame that is in good shape, it is actually better to keep the frame for resale, or converted into a hauling trailer.

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Kay August 6, 2013 at 8:42 pm

Can you scrap a mobile home that you have no title?

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John March 19, 2012 at 12:23 am

Awsome Web Site!!
i will be visiting often!
Are washers and dryers worth scrapping?

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Tom March 30, 2012 at 3:58 am

This is a great website…Thanks to all for their helpful discussion and knowledge.

I would like to know more about identifying stainless steel from chrome plated steel items.

Things such as oven racks are these chrome plated or stainless steel?

Given stainless is earning nearly $1 a kilo here in Australia, or around $2.20 per pound, some people
such as myself might be missing out getting stainless price for some items, thinking they are just chrome plated steel and throwing them in the steel pile.

Any comments / discussion on this would be appreciated.

thanks

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ScrapMetalJunkie March 31, 2012 at 4:06 pm

Stainless steel is very easy to separate from regular steel; all you need is a magnet! If it doesn’t stick, then it is considered valuable stainless steel! (some stainless steel does stick to magnets, but that grade of stainless isn’t as valuable)

I suggest you read more at How To Distinguish Aluminum and Stainless Steel.

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Kim D May 5, 2012 at 7:09 pm

This is a great website and very helpful for a newbee junkie like me. I had gotten a new satelite dish that replaced old one. Installer said to junk it, they don’t take them back. I tore apart the transducer and inside it was what looks like a motherboard on computer. Is this worth taking to junk yard? I know there is suppose to be gold/silver on these and did not want to toss if there were gold in it. Is t here anyone out there who tore one apart?

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Patrick May 8, 2012 at 4:31 am

Great info on recycling TV’s. Just curious, is the plastic shell of televisions recyclable? Would scrap yards take this material?
Thanks!

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ScrapMetalJunkie May 13, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Scrap yards generally do not take plastic, but there are a few rare ones that do. Actually in recent years, with the rising cost of materials, more scrap yards are starting to take plastic, but it’s still only a fraction of a percent.

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Dennis July 7, 2012 at 5:49 pm

Can you sell used manganese anywhere? Mostly jaw and cone crusher wear parts.

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Greg Cann August 19, 2012 at 10:33 am

Great site! Loads of good information – thanks.
A few comments, whilst VCR’s may have low grade boards what about the tape head? Surely that’s a sizable chunk of aluminum filled with coppery goodness – no? Also those huge car amps that the kids use, I repair electronics and have a couple that are beyond repair but the case / heatsink is truly massive, must weigh 2 kilos (4.4 lbs) and my trusty HDD magnet does not stick. Finally what about cell phones, supposedly ultra high grade boards but I find no mention here?
Keep up the good work & kind regards from sunny Spain.

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mike welsh February 26, 2013 at 11:56 pm

i would also like to see an article on cell phones, pagers, pda’s, Satellite dishs, etc….

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icronic September 7, 2012 at 7:30 pm

I recently came across an elliptical stair climber machine. I was wondering if it was worth scrapping. O, I love this SCRAP METAL JUNKIE site you got going here.

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Cathy October 10, 2012 at 7:42 am

Hi,
I just wanted to say thank you for sharing all of this great info with all of us junkie wannabes. It is pretty tough to find useful, down to earth information and facts about the business and with this site I feel I have hit the mother lode!
Thanks again and please keep up the good work,
Sincerely,
Cathy

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ScrapMetalJunkie October 11, 2012 at 7:55 pm

Thank you, Cathy. It is my pleasure.

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Brian Brooks October 17, 2012 at 6:28 am

I am a fellow scrapper as well and have learned a few things I didn’t know. Though, I was wonderin if scrappin a VCR is like doin a TV?

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Mike October 30, 2012 at 6:14 pm

What would A193 Grade B7 Alloy steel, ASTM 4140/4142 be catagrised under

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Mike October 30, 2012 at 6:17 pm

What would A193 Grade B7 Alloy steel, ASTM 4140/4142 be catagrised under in a scrap yard

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muttkat December 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

My friend and I have been discussing getting into the business of scrapping. We would be starting out on a small scale. I look at scraping copper also but he wants mainly to scrap the gold out of computers. I notice you suggest selling the fingers on ebay. We want to go beyond that. We want to extract the gold off the fingers……….He wants to buy a metal furnace that separates the gold. He suggested buying equipment (thats no longer used) at govt auctions. Can you give some pointers on who has the best prices on these furnaces & what do you think about the auction method to acquire the scrap?
Also my roomate took out the combs out of his car cause it was clogged up. Anyway the broken up combs are sitting in a bucket. How do I extract the metal out of the comb pieces?
I also have 6 cars I need to get off my property that others have left (3). In Texas I read if you don’t get an answer from the owner you’re suppose to call the police & they’ll pick up the car & then you can go to an auction & bid on them and then bring them back if you win the bid. They’ve been vandalized & they’re not worth it. Somebody told me if you sell the car as parts, you don’t have to go thru the title thing. 2 of the 3 cars will never be driven again. Thanks for any help.

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Pete Shipp March 25, 2013 at 3:41 pm

Hi,
I just found your site at the weekend. I’ve been scrapping for a little while and I thought I was doing ok at it. You’ve shown me a few bits that I was missing!
I loved reading your “how to” guide to scrap various things and was hoping you could extend that list to include washing machines and vacuum cleaners.
Keep up the good work!

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krystal April 11, 2013 at 7:33 am

Do scrap yards buy galfan?

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ScrapMetalJunkie April 11, 2013 at 5:53 pm

Yeah, I’ve never seen a scrap yard that doesn’t.

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Jeremy April 12, 2013 at 3:10 am

I found your website after hearing about “junk” metals having value. using your advice ive already gotten 2 electric stoves 1 gas 3 air conditioners a fridge lots of piping miscellaneous metal scraps and even found an old barn truck that weighs a ton! five people already have my number and said they would recommend me to anyone that fits. I started four days ago! your website is the best, and i plan to use it until i dont need to
:)
ps being very friendly is a must in this line of work

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rickert May 19, 2013 at 8:28 am

electric organs ,have alot green board an alot of copper wire ?true or false i can pick several up 4 almost nothing from only one expirence with electric organ i remember a large amount of worthy scrap .was this a fluke or not a common type organ or chances are i will run into similar scrap with the majority of electric organs.like ta hear input from others on this thanks

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Amanda July 2, 2013 at 4:17 pm

We have alot of wire hangers that work uniforms come on & have no use for them. Could we scrap them? And what would they be made of?

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jay rigly July 15, 2013 at 6:31 pm

Wondering the best way to get into a three phase recloser. Is it worth my efforts?

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Kay August 7, 2013 at 4:08 pm

Can you scrap a mobile home that you have no title?

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Mgk August 14, 2013 at 2:54 am

I have a washing machine that I am going to scrap. I just wanted to know if it was worth taking apart. Is there any metal in a washing machine that is worth taking out? And also do scrap yards take motors? I have a broken weed eater and I wanted to know if the motor is worth more by itself. Last question. I have been scrapping for a little while but just every now and then. Do scrap yards give you less money for items if you don’t take all of the non-metal parts off?

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Corey September 16, 2013 at 8:18 pm

I love the guide. It has come in very handy. I am learning more and more as I read through your site. Thank you.

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Johanna November 8, 2013 at 6:35 pm

I have in my posession the bottim piece of a panorex machine. It does not stick to a magnet and was wondering what type of metal it may be. It is very heavy. I want to scrap it but just didnt know what metal it is. If you could help it would greatly be appreciated. Thanks, Johanna

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Lacy November 16, 2013 at 4:30 pm

I am totally loving this website! There is lots of good information and very useful. But what about washers and dryers? I haven’t seen anything about them on here, and I’d imagine they would have a lot of good scrap in them.

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Mgk December 31, 2013 at 9:21 pm

I have a bunch of motors that I’ve gotten out of washing machines, dishwashers, and other appliances and i took 2 of them apart, but it took me a long time. I was wondering if there is any way to quickly take apart motors to get the copper out to make it worth it.

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kathryn sisk July 12, 2014 at 11:25 am

Anyone no who n wear I can sale my already broke down n scrapped cell phones I got around 15 Brock down n scraped help anyone

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Alec August 30, 2014 at 5:19 pm

I am an architect working with a research organization. They have a research building with a partial dome (approximately 3/4 sphere, approximately 40′ in diameter) constructed of 1/2″ welded steel plate. It was built in 1938. The organization is considering demolishing this facility. Does the fact that the steel plate is pre- World War ll ( pre atomic bomb) give it additional salvage value?

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