Scrap Metal Identification

This should clear up some of the confusion I have heard from some on how to identify different types of metals! Before you leave please check out my must read page on HOW TO START SCRAPPING METAL!Check out the bottom of the page for a link to the ISRI scrap specification manual.

  • Make sure you know how to pull apart all of the items listed in the SCRAP GUIDE.
  • First and foremost, ALWAYS HAVE A MAGNET! This is the tool of the trade, some would say, and to be without one will make you seem like a fool. I have a whole collection of magnets that I have tore out of different scrapped appliances and what not. Microwaves, speakers, hard drives, and other electronics all have magnets you can pull out.
  • You will undoubtably make very good use of the Spark Test… that is if you lean about the spark test. Use that guide to get it down, and then practice.
  • I have written a specialty guide to identifying special types of e-waste. Things like computers, monitors, RAM, CPUs, and more.

The magnet will become your weapon, and with it you will sort ferrous and non-ferrous metals.


  • Is 3x heavier than aluminum.
  • Will rust.
  • Sticks to a magnet…
  • is abundant.
  • is strong


How to Identify Aluminum:

  • is quite light
  • does NOT draw a magnet
  • does NOT throw sparks when ground with an angle grinder.
  • doesn’t rust.


How To Identify Copper:

  • Is mostly used in wiring and electronics.
  • Makes great cookware
  • When copper is pure it has beautiful pink color
  • Due to tarnishing, is usually a red or brown color. (also beautiful)
  • Oxidizes into a strong green color. (see Statue Of Liberty)
  • Is more dense than iron, by about 15%.
  • Bright Copper is another name for very pure copper, usually wire. Bright copper is the most valuable of scrap copper
  • Copper #1 is clean copper, including pipes without solder joints.
  • Copper #2 is painted copper, copper with solder joints, things of that nature
  • Light Copper is copper sheeting. Some yards may call this copper #3.
  • Copper Breakage: Motors, transformers, inductors, some processors, et cetera.

How To Identify Brass or Bronze:
  • is usually a yellow-ish color and pays about half the price of copper #1.
  • may be called brass or bronze, but some will say “Copper alloy” to avoid confusion.
  • Is often found in the form of pipe valves, fluid manifolds, decorative pieces, or instruments.
  • Can be alloyed with nickel, in which case it is called a CUPRONICKEL (see below)
  • Because the grades of wire are not explicitly spelled out by the ISRI, they are usually graded different by every yard.
  • There are many different ways of grading copper wire, but what it really comes down to is percentage of copper that is within the wire. Some people like to strip the copper themselves and get full copper price, other like to just take it in as is. Really, it just comes down to how much time you have.
  • 85% Wire: Thin case with a diameter comparible to a pencil’s. If you have this type of wire, just strip it yourself and get ful copper price!
  • 70% Wire: Romex/machine wire without any attachments.
  • 50% Wire: Extension cords and appliance cords, with all attachments removed.
  • 30% Wire: Thinly gauged wire with a considerable degree of attachments.
  • 15% Wire: Christmas lights.


How To Identify Lead:
  • Is 150% denser buy generic paxil cr than iron, so it should feel heavy.
  • Is atomic element 82 with chemical symbol Pb (from latin plumbum meaning lead)
  • is very malleable, or soft, and can be carved with a pocket knife.
  • Will melt in an over or over a fire at 621°F
  • used to make bullets, and line xray machines.
  • is very toxic (but apparently has a sweet taste).
  • 304 stainless steel is an iron alloy with 18% chromium an 8% nickel.
  • It WILL NOT draw a magnet.
  • Use the Spark test.


  • is non magnetic
  • Is an iron alloy with 18% chromium and 10% nickel, but is worth up to 50 cents more per pound depending on the yard.
  • To me and most scrappers, it looks exactly the same as 304 stainless.
  • Look for a “316 SS” stamp or one similar to distinguish this.
  • When spark tested, will have less “forks” at the end of streams.
  • Have your yard check with an XRF gun if you’re curious but don’t know.
  • Is an iron alloy with 17% chromium 4%Nickel and 7% Manganese
  • Are much more corrosion resistant that 300 grade.
  • Are harder to sell to a scrap yard because they will not accumulate enough to find a buyer.
  • A scrap yard could sell this with 300 grade stainless if they wanted to.



  • has no nickel in it, and therefore IS magnetic.
  • If it is magnetic, many yards will not pay stainless price for it.
  • Is an alloy of 11% Chromium and ~1% manganese


  • a fancy way of saying copper/nickel alloy
  • is worth much more that copper 1.
  • Some yards will cheat and try to buy this stuff as brass or cheaper.
  • is actually at least 30% Ni, sometimes up to 90%, which is 3 times as expensive as copper.
  • Is often used in fake jewelry, silver plated dinnerware, ship making, salt water pipes, heat exchangers and condensers, musical instruments and more…
  • You my have to shop around until you find a yard that will buy this for a great price without trying to screw you.



  • The heating elements out of an electric stove are all made of a majority nickel alloy.
  • If you have a lot of them, get payed for them!
  • have your yard check all heating elements with an XRF gun so you can get payed the right price.
  • Your price for heating elements should at least be that of the price of 316 Stainless.

How To Identify CARBIDE

  • Carbide is short for Tungston Carbide, a compound with shorthand WC.
  • Carbide is heavy! At 16g/cm^3, it is 16 times as heavy as water!
  • Two tablespoons of this stuff weights over a pound!
  • Can be scrapper for over 7 dollars per pound.
  • Is usually found in the form of end mills, inserts or saw tips.
  • If you hit it with a grinder, it will make very short, dim, dark red sparks.
  • It is very strong!
  • Most carbide is actually Cemented Tungston Carbide Cobalt, or basically, Co with grains of WC in it.



If you already know your way around a scrap yard, check out the ISRI Scrap Specifications Circular.  This document will completely spell out all types of scrap, many of which yards do not even offer prices for, as well as scrap of all types including glass and plastic.

{ 108 comments… read them below or add one }

keith August 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

how much is chrome worth in weight?


ScrapMetalJunkie August 25, 2011 at 2:15 pm

This depends entirely upon what the nearest scrap yard is willing to pay for it.

First off, are you absolutely sure you have chromium scrap? Chromium is non-magnetic, and doesn’t spark when put to a grind wheel.

Chromium scrap is a tough sell at most scrap yards because it is very rarely sold in pure elemental form. If you bring it in, tell them that you think it is brass. They should, hypothetically, agree with you, because it doesn’t spark and it is non-magnetic. Then pay you brass price for it, which is about 1.50 per pound.

So, to reiterate: Call a few scrap yards in your area, and ask if they buy chrome. They will probably say “yes.” The real question is how much they are willing to pay. If they normally buy and sell scrap chrome, expect to get over $2.50/lbs-$3.50/lbs. Otherwise, you can always get away with calling it “white brass.”


Scooba Joe May 14, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Yeah, just lie to the scrapyard. They love that. For that matter, just call it white gold. Maybe they will be fooled all the same.


ScrapMetalJunkie May 14, 2012 at 11:29 pm

You make a good point, and I understand where you’re coming from. The thing is, I’ve been taken advantage of by scrap buyers many times in my life… many more times than I probably realize or care to admit.

I’ll never forget the first time I sold aluminum gutters. It was roughly $500 worth of aluminum in todays terms, which was a lot more aluminum more back then! The guy at the scale convinced me it was worth around $100 for the “gutter nails” inside them. (This was after I spent an hour dumping them all.)

Boy, was I pissed off when I realized gutter nails were made from aluminum later that year.

I never suggest you lie to a scrap yard, especially if it is a scrap yard that treats ya well. But if a scrap yard is only willing to pay you junk price for pure chrome, then they are ripping you off! Even if they pay you brass price for pure chrome, that’s still a rip off!

If they can’t tell you what type of metal you are selling them, you shouldn’t be selling to them, because chances are they are taking advantage of you.

With all of that being said: The only reason I suggested keith call it “white brass” was because chances are, he was confusing chromed nickel brass with solid chrome, which is a common mistake at the scrap yard.


Shelley yoshimoto June 15, 2012 at 2:04 pm

It’s been my experience that on the non ferrous side of the smaller scrap yards, the employees buying are pretty uneducated on the alloys they are buying. Even the guys running the handheld xrf are just giving it a guess. I’ve taken the same exact piece to a yard and had it analyzed. I did not sell it because it had a lot of these items and chose to sell them all at once. I had them mark the item with the alloy name and when I went back they told me it was tin. Not much confidence there.

Junkyard Jill July 21, 2014 at 8:18 am

that comment made my morning 🙂 lol


Dieggo October 17, 2011 at 4:13 am

Is it worth it taking apart washers and dryers?


ScrapMetalJunkie October 17, 2011 at 4:14 am

Definitely! The motors are great. I’ll add an article about scrap washers and driers to the “Scrappers Handbook” soon.


Dieggo October 17, 2011 at 4:13 am

What about junk cars?


ScrapMetalJunkie October 17, 2011 at 4:14 am

What about them?


Chris October 18, 2011 at 8:52 pm

I am scrapping for the first time. I think I am collecting up some good stuff, and the local yard has a website that has a lot of good info. There is plenty that I am not sure of, or what to even do, but I dont expect you to answer all of my questions! The one I have currently is this: how do I sort my scrap, meaning the pieces that are smaller? What sort of metal items are definitely not of any use? I am driving kind of blind here, but I am in need of money and so I am doing this. Any advice that you may have would be helpful. Thank you.


ScrapMetalJunkie October 18, 2011 at 10:03 pm

I hustled home just to answer this question. lol

I want to you to know that even if I can’t answer all of your questions right away, there are lot of friendly scrappers in our Scrap Metal Forum that would love to discuss anything scrap metal related (and other stuff) with you, myself included.

The most universal way to sort any scrap has these 3 main stages: i. Isolating ii. Classifying iii. Depositing

i. Isolating: This is when you pull out your sledge hammer and break stuff down. If you have a water heater, its when you rip all the brass valves off. If you have a Bicycle, its when you pull the non-magnetic pieces off. Don’t isolate metals unless you think their value might be more then what they are attached to. Isolating scrap goes hand in hand with classifying them, as you do not want to spend an hour isolating something that is worth 10¢. The real pro scrappers will make a habit of tearing down all of their appliances, all of their junk items, to harvest all of the different classifications of metals. (If you give me a pile of appliances worth $200 in mixed scrap, I can easily tear down and isolate an additional $150 worth of scrap, for a total of $350. Don’t be that guy who just dumps everything, and doesn’t tear down their scrap. Scrappers don’t like guys like that.)


ii Classifying: This is when you perform tests on your scrap to determine what it is made of. Does it stick to a magnet? Then it is probably steel. Does it bend very easily? Then it isn’t high grade Stainless Steel. Does it look bright pink? Then it is copper. so on and so forth. (once you get more experience, you be able to identify most metals just by looking at them. The better you are at classifying, the more money you will make. If you are good at classifying metals, then you will soon only start isolating metals that will yield the most money.

iii. Depositing: This is the final stage of sorting, when you finally have that clean piece of brass in your hand. In my garage, I have a large excess of 5 gallon buckets, 55 gallon trash cans, and even some larger containers. Depending on your set up, you may only need a few buckets and the back of your truck. The buckets will be where you drop the brass, copper, stainless steel pieces you harvest from your junk. The larger pieces of aluminum and steel can just stay in the back of your truck as-is.

When you get to the Scrap Yard, having all of your scrap sorted and in separate buckets will assure that you will get the best prices possible. If you left a lot of contamination on your sorted scrap (for example, leaving a brass valve in the middle of a copper pipe) then your scrap yard will generally only want to pay you the value of the least valuable item. (So they would only pay you brass price for your copper pipes if you left the brass pieces in there).

If you think this website helps you in any way, please “like” it on Facebook, or tell other scrappers at your scrap yard about it. If you are looking for a free way to advertise your scrap business, please add yourself to the classified ads section of our forum.

Best of luck, and happy scrappin!


Jacob November 1, 2011 at 4:40 am

There is a creek by my house and there are about ten abandoned cars in it i was just wondering if they are worth pulling out and if its legal


ScrapMetalJunkie November 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm

It is only legal if you have permission from the owners of the property. Never take anything without knowing who’s it is.


Jacob November 1, 2011 at 9:56 pm

Yes i totaly agree but i have been going to that creek for a long time and those cars have just been sitting there. They’ve been there for at least 20 years and the creek is open to the public


Matt July 9, 2014 at 10:21 pm

Even if it’s open to the public it is still owned by someone, you should be able to check your county auditors website to determine who owns the property.


Clift August 6, 2014 at 10:47 am

Yeah, I was watching Cops Reloaded on tv the other night, and there was a junk car just sitting in a vacant area. A guy came over to start disassembling items before he got caught. So get the VIN numbers or something and go to the DMV and find the owners.


stormy March 19, 2012 at 9:18 am

took apart an old electric “thing”? weighed over 100lbs, inside was steel plates (lots!) and what i would assume to be alluminum wire, now im reading about “thermocouple wire” could that be what i have? and or in what scrap would i find that kind of wire…and how can i identify it? I read the handbook and didnt see anything about it.


Kyle March 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I am wondering how far to catigorize scrap, for instance aluminum. We have a lot of automotive aluminum (transmission cases, starter housings, intakes) and then some sheet aluminum as well and a lot of cans ( I know cans are not worth much but would painted sheel meal be about the same). Are we better off seperating these and taking them in seperate? Same with copper, I know you have a few diffrent catigories but we have a lot of coper wire (mostly stranded but all diff. sizes) some is tin coated (so number 2 I would guess) and some that is pure coper, that has nothing on it, would that be bare bright?

Thanks in advance for your help.


ScrapMetalJunkie March 24, 2012 at 5:25 pm

The transmission, cases, intakes are considered “Cast Aluminum.” which is generally worth the same or a little less than sheet aluminum (depending on the scrap yard), and the aluminum cans are generally worth the most money. If you can, you should definitely separate the different grades of aluminum, but try to contact the scrap yard to see what types of categories they have. (Unfortunately, every scrap yard has different ways of categorizing scrap)


Mindy Sue March 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm

LOVE your website !!! What are the laws in Ca. regarding scrap on public roadways andor utility rds.? what about scrap i find on public lands ? or B.L.M land? i am contesting a trespass for purpose of theft charge and i need to know if i have a case . Thanks Scrapjunkie !!


HAPPY SCRAPPIE April 28, 2012 at 8:47 am

One more thing; here in NE Ohio, I am unable to find a scrap yard who will give me anything but one flat price for STEEL, Apparently, as far as they are concerned Tungsten, carbide and stainless are worth same as tin, galvanized and anything else a magnet will stick to. One guy told me; “Just dump it all right here-‘steel is steel’…” foolishly, i was desperate i gave in, giving him a double stainless steel kitchen sink, and a V8 motor (most of it anyway) which had a lot of aluminum, but needed to get it out of my truck but he wouldn’t budge on the price, even though i know there were carbide and likely some other high grade steel in it, (bearings, cam shafts, valves) as well as substantial brass bushings and possibly even Titanium.
As I drove away, I wondered if he meant; “Steel is STEAL….”
Interestingly, as i was clearing the last few bits out of my truck, he and another guy stood over the engine and he remarked (presuming i wouldn’t hear him) “That’s a nice chunk…”

Before i even got in my truck to return to the scale, he called a front-end loader over to grab it and put it in a special bin.

WHICH BRINGS UP ANOTHER QUESTION I HAVE; are the scales at scrap yards subject to inspection by auditors from the bureau of weights and measures? And how can I know they aren’t fudging the numbers when i weigh in and out? It seems they round off the weights, but I never actually see the numbers….


ScrapMetalJunkie April 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm

The truck scales are at least accurate to 10 pounds, and the small scales should be accurate to at least ±0.5pounds. This is required by law, but scrap yards are notorious for scamming the system. As for the number fudging, they could very well be cheating you.

There are many small “yards” that just buy your stuff and then turn around and sell it all to a bigger scrap yard in the next city over. This is a very common practice in farm country and, at some level, even in bigger cities. If you can help it, I suggest avoiding selling to those places because their pricing is generally inferior.

As for the motor and sink, you were had. Unfortunately there is nothing you can do about it now except never patronizing that scrap yard again. If this is the only scrap yard in your area, the only thing you can do is start your own scrap yard and compete with them!

Thanks for all comments, and Best of luck! If you get a chance, I think you would checking out our Metal Recycling Forum


Scooba Joe May 14, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Copper weighs more than iron. Why is there a picture of a penny next to the aluminum section?


ScrapMetalJunkie May 14, 2012 at 11:39 pm

That is a special draft of the penny introduced to congress in 1974; It was rejected before ever getting into circulation.

Also, yes, copper weights more than iron by roughly 15%. Thank you for the suggestion, I will add that in right now.


toony toon June 27, 2012 at 12:44 am

what are some objects u can easily find carbide in??


Copelon J. Kirklin July 8, 2012 at 5:11 pm

I have a 20″ chrome rim. I am scraping it because it has a hairline crack in it that will always puncture a tire. So there will never be any good use for it. My question is, knowing that it’s not chrome-plated, does this mean it’s pure chromium? If so, how much could I get for it? If not, what metal is it considered as and how much could I get for it? I really need to know this sometime today because I have to bring it in tomorrow. Slight financial issues.


Crystal July 19, 2012 at 4:25 am

I work in a photo lab that still takes 135mm film for developing. After the film is removed, the canisters are tossed. Originally I had started holding on to the canisters in hopes of creating a recycled-scrap art project. It’s been several months since I started accumulating and my lab is now converting to dry (no chemicals) and so will no longer be taking film for development. I’ve gotten a fair amount, but not enough for the project, and will soon no longer be able to gain more. I have no access to a grinder to perform a spark test and I cannot find a source online that identifies the metal used. Can you tell me what kind of metal the film canisters are made of?


small city metalhead August 17, 2012 at 1:38 am

Hi I have been collecting aluminum, copper 1 2 3, brass and rads for 3 yrs now and I can not seem to get the aluminum sheeth off my overwellming amount of wire I have collected its time to collect on my collection. I’ve tryd the hacksaw twist off and grinder cutting but is there any faster easier way. ??
I want top dollar for my efforts and enjoy this second job. I also have electric motors that need the armature removed for top dollar I use a grinder to get this cut in half but being such a large piece of metal and I have used up most of my metal wheels is there a better way?? Thank any advice would be awesome. Frank


Justin September 27, 2012 at 6:14 am

The best and cheapest way I have ever found is to use a simple pocketknife. It made take a lil bit to get the angle right but once you do you will be cutting the alluminum/stainless sheath off much quicker and cleaner than other ways.


Deedee September 17, 2012 at 12:22 am

I have a crappy old drumset that I want to get rid of. I could probably get a few bucks for it, but I have neither the time nor the inclination to set it up, photograph it, list it, and then deal with flaky broke drummers for weeks before selling it for next to nothing. So I thought maybe it might be worth just as much if I scrap it. I have some other things to go to the scrap yard anyway, so I figured I could just throw it in with that. The cymbals are brass alloys, but the hardware is chrome? I think? Do you have any idea what it really is?


BigTexas October 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Im not sure if this is the right place, would you know what metals are in a hard drive? I recently was given a pickup load of computers, cards, hard drives, 2 boxes of pc power cords, old school laptops, key boards. half of it i dont know what it is! lol trying to see what is what! thanks


ScrapMetalJunkie October 11, 2012 at 10:45 pm

I think you’ll find everything you need in my write up on hard drive scrap.


xisleprez October 23, 2012 at 4:56 am

In New Jersey there is a few small recyclers of alloys and non-ferrous metals called Dr.Copper. they pay market price, are honest and helpful with knowledge. Your guide in scrapping is excellant! If people need even more info on the different alloys and metals just google what or where is the alloy/metal mostly found, like what products are made using the specific alloy they’d like to scrap (other than the obvious ones your guide describes). one thing about automotive that is by far the easiest to scrap without any work…if your catalytic converter needs replacing at the repair shop its worth between $75-$275 each in scrap depending on yr. make and model! tell the shop you want the old one back, they wont be happy but you will when you get the highest current market value for catalytic converters. G&E Autocat recycling outside Philly,Pa. payout the most! ask for “Eric”. Thanks for all your hard work and knowledge given here,you are than man bro!


santos November 15, 2012 at 2:39 pm

great site, learned alot. looking forward to coming back.


Brandon November 16, 2012 at 12:05 am

How much are transport truck wheel bearings worth?


Parworth January 7, 2013 at 1:08 am

Does anybody have an idea about how much a 5 gallon bucket of computer ram might weigh? Thanx


josh bell March 3, 2013 at 2:48 pm

I have some what appears to be chrome strips off some old cars they are all bent up cause of wrecks but should I get a good price for them


West Chester East March 30, 2013 at 2:01 am

Great website and information. Thank you for sharing this information in a straight forward and easy to comprehend manner. I deeply appreciate it.


daddy April 15, 2013 at 3:29 am

I have a gym set someone left in my apt. Im trying to go to scrap it but I dunno what type of metal it is. I wanna say die cast steel. It has a rough texture and its average weight.


ScrapMetalJunkie April 15, 2013 at 5:17 pm

I am 95% certain that it is steel, will be worth roughly $10 per 100 Lbs.


daddy April 15, 2013 at 9:52 pm

That suks I was hoping you could give me a scrap trik aswell. Thankyou now ill know and they cant and prolly wont try to scam me. Thanks again


Paul April 18, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Someone has dumped a 20ft long iron pole against my fence on the rear access of my house. It’s against my fence bordering a shared access road to my garage. Technically this is now mine as each house is responsible for the area directly from the back of the garage to the boundary fence outwards from their house footprint.
I’ve asked my neighbours but no-one knows anything about it, I suspect it was dumped overnight.

I can’t lift the iron pole, so it is worth money. I don’t have tools to cut it, to remove it, so I need it collected. A 2 man rag and bone team would be ideal, but I can’t get any interest.

Any ideas on what I could do ?


ScrapMetalJunkie April 25, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Post it on craigslist for free or wait for garbage day and flag down the first junk-man that passes by.


Paul April 25, 2013 at 3:40 pm



GoScrap May 3, 2013 at 5:27 pm

I don’t have any experience whatsover with metals or scraps.Myself in US. One of my relative back in India says have a buyer and financer for good Shredsed steel / HMS1 /HMS2. He wants to me to look for some good trusted supplier for above mentioned items and then he/me have to arrange the exporting it to india/vietnam or some other country. Profit would be to get commision from it. My relative says to start with 2000 , 10,000 tons at first using containers so as to make sure that seller is supplying genuine good quality scrap.

Me being illiterate in this business how should i approach and to which kind of scrap yards ? How should i start ? How will i identify if those guys are giving me genuine Shredded steel / HMS1 /HMS2.? how should i identify fraud ? is there any risk protection/insurance ? I don’t want to approach scrap yard with no experience of metals at all but i have to start somewhere. May be they all started scrap metal business this way one day.


scott May 14, 2013 at 2:59 am

I’m willing to help scrapers when ever possible so feel free to ask. Tip if you have enough of a specific metal and you have it tested have the yard give you the chemistry of it because what the gun says it is isn’t always correct and may have something better then the gun says and they will show you what the gun says it is knowing its not because they will make way more in the end


Chris Smith June 1, 2013 at 6:19 pm

I have just recently came across a abandon garage (in the ghetto)full of old car parts from the 1960′-70′.. Everything from fenders and headlights still in the box to loose parts piled up 3 feet on top of each other.. I picked up a few parts and the are extremely heavy for their size.. I don’t know if I should take the heavy dull things or the little shiny parts.. It is really a sight to see and I am sure any scrapper would jump in joy if they came across this but I have no clue what I should scrap and what should I leave?


ScrapMetalJunkie June 4, 2013 at 8:31 pm

If you don’t have permission/contractual agreement with the owner of the property, then you are breaking the law and piling onto the bad reputation that scrap recyclers have.

If you are entrepreneurial, you can buy the property ( or “haul it off free of charge”) and then sell all the antiques to collectors.

Just sayin’ it sounds like what you’re doing right now isn’t legal.


lucas October 23, 2013 at 12:32 am

parts from the 60s and 70s are worth more as parts then scrap and you would need to find the owner of the building


Travis June 5, 2013 at 6:42 am

I’m kind of new to scrapping and I don’t do it that much, but I have been saving up all of the metals in my house so I could scrap them. What kind of wires or cords from electrical items could I scrap and how would I scrap them? Also, the scrap yard near me takes catv cable. What qualifies as catv cable? And what else could I scrap from just around the house?


ScrapMetalJunkie June 6, 2013 at 3:33 pm

catv cable is the same as saying internet cables or networking cables.


Dale July 6, 2013 at 4:53 pm

I had a Barn full of pick up truck and car tires on steel rims so I called the scrap yard BEFORE loading them up and the girl on the phone says, we’ll take them but will take 3 dollars off each to get rid of the tires. So I painstakingly hand loaded them up and took them to the scrap yard, and then they said they didn’t want them or they would have to charge me! I was like WHAT? It would of helped to at least break even and dump them for free.. but they refused so I had to take them back and stack them in my barn. With three of four dozen wagon wheel truck rims, and car rims, I would think they could have easily made their money off me by taking them for free, especially since they have have a special machine that removes them from the rim. Man was I pissed off after that work out. The only thing they asked me was.. are any of the rims aluminum? I said no.. and you’ll never see me do business here again.


sameen August 26, 2013 at 11:07 pm

How to identify Electric Steel?


Monique Bates September 11, 2013 at 12:25 am

My dad and i dismantled a the big drum considered scrape metal along with the dismantled refrigerator.


Nanetta Ford October 12, 2013 at 8:08 am

Is the copper inside of auto starters considered #1 or #2 copper?


TERRY October 31, 2013 at 3:42 pm

I have started recycling scrap.Are chunks of steel worth taking in seperate then together with tin?


Bill Whitman November 27, 2013 at 1:08 am

How is galvanized steel categorized?


kirk December 19, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Hello. I found a silvery white metal that I think is used for grounding electric someone told me it could be white copper because it’s oxidizing green. If someone knows please help.


mike January 14, 2014 at 6:27 am

How can you tell if you have chromium iron alloy vs. iridium since it looks the same what would differentiate it?


William January 14, 2014 at 1:15 pm

One is chromium iron and the other will be something else


jarell February 11, 2014 at 8:59 am

what type of alloy ( Aliuminum, Steel, Iron etc) is transmissions made from?
type of car: Ford Crown Victoria
year: 2001


ScrapMetalJunkie February 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Transmissions are generally made of aluminum


ScrapMetalJunkie February 18, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Transmission housing are generally made of aluminum and the gears sets are made of a special grade of steel.


Jeff April 7, 2014 at 2:04 pm

I’m trying to understand the differences between magnetic and non-magnetic stainless and I’m confused: Nickel IS magnetic, so please explain this:

• has no nickel in it, and therefore IS magnetic.



ScrapMetalJunkie April 7, 2014 at 3:45 pm

A special type of metallic crystal lattice molecular structure makes ferrous metal non-magnetic. This special type of molecular structure happens when nickel and chromium are both present in the stainless steel alloy. Because 400 grade stainless steel has no nickel, it remains magnetic because of the iron in the alloy.


KarlB. AKA F.I.LetsGoFishing April 22, 2014 at 9:37 pm

Been away a while
With most yards Stainless only falls in 2 catagories Magnetic and Non-Magnetic but knowing that there is a difference is a good thing as knowledge is power. Most stainless stock is worth far more as stock than scrap. i.e. 316 Stainless tubing in 3 ft legths can fetch $10 or better is the right buyer is found.
SMJ Send me an e-mail


john j April 17, 2014 at 7:46 am

Great site-very informative. Question: Whats best way to remove magnets from a lawn mower type flywheel? Magnets are strong & good aluminum.thanks.


Chris J April 19, 2014 at 10:45 am

Good Morning SMJ. I live in NY and have no experience scrapping. What I do know I learned from this blog. Thanks SMJ. Your breath of knowledge and experience has provided me with a great foundation.
Now, I have an above-ground swimming pool, made of an aluminum framing, with aluminum sheets of that makes up the interior which are covered with vinyl, to contain the water. After 40 years of use, maintenance and upgrades She has finally seen her last summer. Prior to breakdown, I will test with a magnet. Do you believe it should also be tested with an xfr analyser are the spark test? Do I need to clean off the two coats of rust-oleum before transporting to a scrap yard? Based on your experience, how much do you think I should get per pound?
Any info will be greatful.


ScrapMetalJunkie April 19, 2014 at 1:12 pm

Call your scrap yard ahead of time and explain to them what you have, and they will tell you what they’ll pay for it. Call a few different ones to see what ones have the best aluminum prices. Expect about 45¢-50¢.


Chris J April 19, 2014 at 4:35 pm

Good Morning SMJ. I live in NY and have no experience scrapping. What I do know I learned from this blog. Thanks SMJ. Your breath of knowledge and experience has provided me with a great foundation.
Now, I have an above-ground swimming pool, made of an aluminum framing, with aluminum sheets of that makes up the interior which are covered with vinyl, to contain the water. After 40 years of use, maintenance and upgrades She has finally seen her last summer. Prior to breakdown, I will test with a magnet. Do you believe it should also be tested with an xfr analyser are the spark test? Do I need to clean off the two coats of rust-oleum before transporting to a scrap yard? Based on your experience, how much do you think I should get per pound?
Any info will be greatful.


Sara May 30, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I replaced my garage door railing and was curious if you could tell me IF I could get money out of it and if I can, what type of price should I expect? I just don’t want someone to take advantage of me thinking I’m a dumb blonde. Thanks!


Briana` June 17, 2014 at 7:13 pm

There is a large car engine in my garage and its been there since I moved in two years ago I want it gone but people keep telling me to sell it. Is this worth selling and do you think some one would come and get it because its nasty dirty and not going in my truck.


ScrapMetalJunkie June 18, 2014 at 9:59 am

Someone will definitely come get it. All you need is a craigslist ad. It’s worth a small amount of money as scrap, much more valuable to somebody who can fix it up or use it for parts.


Jamis June 22, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Just a fast question, what type of metal are the housings a CD-ROM’s comprised of? Great site and extremely informative.



Sean July 16, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Hello… Are you familiar with the old metal Ral Partha and Citidel gaming miniatures? I’m pretty sure they are a white metal (lead/tin and possibly antimony) alloy. Any idea if that’s correct and if it is what’s the value? I have about 250-300 lbs of these.


joe meyers July 18, 2014 at 6:52 am

i have a transmission, would it be better to take apart or leave as whole to scrap?? thanks!!


amj July 23, 2014 at 2:28 pm

How to identify the materials used for steel gate valve. For eg. if I am purchasing a steel gate valve API 6D Material ASTM A216 Gr WCB and Trim hard faced with cobalt chromium tungsten alloy ST6.I am receiving the finished product from Vendor with TPI certificate. Is there any methods to check material after receipt of valves.


Nitul Shah August 8, 2014 at 2:22 am

Hi ,

I am being offered Aluminium transmission scrap and i wanted to know what is the percentage of Aluminium and fe in the same.



Felipe garrido August 8, 2014 at 9:38 am

My uncle and I scrap metal and at times we save some of it in out back yard until we have one big trip, but one of the neighbors is complaining. Is there any laws or regulations that can get us introuble for storing our metal that we legally have obtain?


Tommy Miller August 14, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Are old coffee pots and metal pans consider scrap metal that can be recycled


michael August 19, 2014 at 12:31 pm

I recently moved into a home and found a lot of used welding tips in a barn behind the house. Are they worth anything. They look like solid copper. And if they are, how do they grade, so Im not ripped off if they do buy them. Some scrap yards wont take them and not sure why, because they are copper.


brad October 2, 2014 at 2:07 am

I have a lot of copper tubing it is clean of all soder but is turning green will I still get number #1 price for that


Trent November 20, 2014 at 10:00 pm

I am 13 and just started scrapping because of my age what can I do besides strip coper wire


Dale December 20, 2014 at 8:35 am

Trent, theres a lot you can do regardless of your age. Since your young and dont likely have a regular job after school, you can be the first one to spot and collect scrap metal from peoples trash when they put it by the curb. You would beat the other scrappers to it who usually have to wait till after work to go collecting in the neighborhood. Once you get a nice little pile together, get your Dad or Mom to take you to the local scrap yard to sell it. After time, you’ll be the richest 13 yr old in school.


Elm January 9, 2015 at 2:45 am

So I have a 23.1 pound block of something….. It is 6 1/8 x 3 5/8 x 3 3/4inches. About the right weight to be nickel?? a bit lighter and harder than lead, heavyer and softer than stainless, does not rust and is magnetic. not copper colored at all. Much heavier than Aluminum and probably a touch harder. came from a guy who hoarded all kinds of strange stuff like this. actualy thought it was silver intill I put a magnet to it. thinking maybe a silver/nickel alloy? it melts an ice cube unbelieveably fast like siver would…… any insite?


Jim Organthall January 18, 2015 at 2:51 pm

I have some very old copper wire ( 60 yrs +? ) that each strand has a dull gray/silver coating / plating . Any idea what this coating might be ? How would I test to determine what it is ?


jollycheriyan January 31, 2015 at 1:35 pm

best contents


Ram prakash February 8, 2015 at 1:22 am

Information was usefull.


keithbennett February 11, 2015 at 12:48 pm

excellent source of information i found helpful


jim heidenreich March 18, 2015 at 7:26 pm

Thanks for the great info regarding metals. I’m kind of a scrap junkie too. My biggest “problem metal” is something the salvage yards call “breakage” that on the outside looks yellow like brass. But salvage buyers won’t give brass price. They basically call the breakage worthless, even though a magnet does not stick to it. Example: Just the other day I found an old cast iron sink. Sure thought faucets, etc were brass. But after freeing it the inside of the “brass pieces” were whiteish. I was googling if there is such a metal as “white brass” and what a pound is worth. That’s how I found this website. Can you help me out with this problem? Thanks again so much.
Jim Heidenreich
Collinsville, Il


ScrapMetalJunkie June 10, 2016 at 10:44 am

White brass vs. yellow brass: White brass is a Copper-Nickel-Zinc alloy, also called Nickel Silver. Yellow brass is only Copper-Zinc.

Breakage is a very vague term used for anything that has zinc or aluminum as the overwhelming majority of the alloy/scrap with some contamination. Many types of modern faucets and hardware use Zinc as the base metal, and then they plate it with brass.

You can usually tell the difference between brass plated zinc and white brass just by holding it in your hand and knowing the difference in the density of the material. The other difference between the metals is the malleability. If you hit a piece of breakage with a hammer, it breaks ( hence, “breakage”), however if you hit a piece of brass (white or yellow) it usually will not break.


Frank Koski July 20, 2015 at 2:01 pm

Is brass plated sheet metal, the kind used for plaques and the sort, recyclable?


Jamie March 17, 2016 at 5:26 am

I’ve got a few aluminium bikes in my yard, will the scrap yard pay me for the price of the aluminium or do I have to strip the paint of first


Gatis Kveps September 27, 2016 at 6:51 am

Very useful information. But there is inaccuracy that brass is bronze. They are both copper alloys. Brass is copper and zinc alloy, but bronze is copper and tin alloy.


DAVID October 9, 2016 at 3:04 pm

I found these metal blocks and idk why they are. They are casted with CB 100 . WHAT COULD THEIR SCRAP VALUE BE?


William January 13, 2017 at 8:58 am

Thank you for this Great site. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and using the tests to find different types of scrap metal in my yard. I hope you will provide more interesting information regarding different scrap metals.


Brite February 24, 2017 at 11:01 pm

We found a very heavy round shaft of a silvery color. It’s about 8 inches tall and I have no idea what it is. I do know that it is not magnetic. I would like to find out where I could go or who I could take it to to find out what it is. It does have some Hammer marks in it but that’s it. It’s not a soft metal because I tried to cut it so now I’m lost because this is something new to me. Can you help me with this and let me know who I can take it to? Thank you, Brite


magrat March 25, 2017 at 12:28 am

Is there any value to seperating pot metal from the other ferruos metals? Does pot metal bring down the price at the yard?


ScrapMetalJunkie March 27, 2017 at 12:14 pm

It depends on how much you value your time, and what the current market prices are for scrap. Pot metal is a different class of scrap metal, so depending on the price, you should consider collecting and sorting.


magrat March 25, 2017 at 12:36 am

I have a lot of 1 1/2 inch steel pipe but it has been exposed to weather and has some rust. It is a lot of steel but will a scrap yard take rusty stuff? Not corroded but rusty. I am also sorting rusty bolts nails parts etc. from my other steel. Do I need to go thru that trouble?Thanks

Reply March 28, 2017 at 12:02 am

Thanks for your advice. i have a lot of 2″by 10 foot poles that are rusting . do scrap yards care about the rust?


ScrapMetalJunkie April 3, 2017 at 3:03 pm

No. They do not care about rust.


Leviticus Bennett April 11, 2017 at 2:59 pm

That’s really interesting that brass and bronze is actually just a copper alloy; I had no idea. I just cleaned out my aunt’s garage for her and have a whole bunch of junk in the back of my truck. A lot of it is scrap metal, so I hope to find out what kinds of metal it is.


Ivy Baker January 23, 2018 at 10:34 pm

This is some really good information about scrap metal. I have been thinking about doing some metal recycling soon. So I liked what you said about how copper wires are mainly in electronics. I will have to keep that in mind if I do start doing this.


ScrapMetalJunkie June 19, 2012 at 2:57 am

I couldn’t agree more! You are right about the employees not being fully educated about alloys. To be fair though, an xrf analyzer is as easy as it gets; their is no guesswork involved. Just clean the sample (with a grinder or file if necessary) and than point and shoot. The screen will read out the exact alloy and/or percentages of alloying elements. Doesn’t get any easier.


scott May 14, 2013 at 2:51 am

I work at the scrap yard that smaller yards sell to now we take from the public to. I run non fe and if you don’t want to be taken from a scrap yard 1st thing have your metals sorted to the best of you ability 2nd show up early in the morning or when there’s not very busy “gives the yard more time to sort out things you missetd and you may learn something” and 3rd don’t pick a lower grade metal “aluminum with fe screws in it” to fight about the clean or 10% grades because if you didn’t clean it then we are looking at time management and cost to clean it so in the end you’ll get the plus 20¢lb there but at a loss so if we see that you have say 90/10 or 70/30 we now buy it for brass to cover cost. Now if it appears that you worked and tried to clean the aluminum then most will give clean for 98% to 100% clean. One more tip most small scrapyards have only a few different grades for each diff metal so that they can just ship fast and make the quick buck


Matt November 18, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I have nickel platted brass, 500 pounds worth or more. They are coax connectors. How much would something of this nature go for?


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