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Thread: disecting a microwave

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    ilyaz started this thread.
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    disecting a microwave

    I just took apart my first microwave. Now I am trying to identify a couple of parts -- see photo. The piece on the left I think is the motor that rotates the carousel. Not sure what the small piece on the bottom is. And the big one. Are these worth anything more than just steel?



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    TheMetalizer is offline Experienced Scrapper
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    Near me, microwaves are taken without a problem. Inside each microwave is one giant transformer that can be sold for copper breakage or motor price. There is also a small amount of industrial grade wire. You may want to experiment with cutting these out and selling them. If you come across a large number of microwaves, it WILL be worth it!

    Also to keep in mind: every microwave has a magnetron. Magnetrons are the microwave generating devices inside of microwave ovens, and they are made of a copper core and have several magnets. There is a small market for used magnetrons, but they are sold on Ebay and possibly at repair shops near your scrap yard. "

    So that thing on the top right is a "magnetron". The thing on the bottom is a lead motor core, and the thing on the left is a motor that runs the rotating tray on the inside of the microwave. You should be able to argue motor price for all three of them as is at your local scrap yard.
    Last edited by TheMetalizer; 01-03-2011 at 05:59 PM.

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    tjlock is offline Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    The bottom two I can get electric motor prices on here. The top right, If you want to go the extra distance, you can get the plates out of the bottom part. They are aluminum. Takes alot to add up to weight but if you break alot of microwaves...it would be worth seeing about taking them out. I can remove them in about 10 minutes or less.

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    Scrapper2010 is offline Experienced Scrapper
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    My scrap yard gives me .20/lb for that gizmo(magnetron?) on the top right. When disecting a microwave I remove the motor and that thing and that's all I remove. Very easy strip job for me because they're usually secured only by four phillips screws.

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    TheMetalizer is offline Experienced Scrapper
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    The magnetron is actually made of mostly copper. Someone mentioned that it had aluminum plates; that's true, but they're not very heavy.

    The real good part of the magnetron (which is the device that makes the microwaves) is that the center "ball" or core is a thick walled hollow copper spheroid. If I tear the magnetron down to just that core, I can get copper #2.

    but if thats too much work for you, then just bring it in as a motor.

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    eesakiwi is online now Metal Recycling Entrepreneur
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    I use a screwdriver & hammer & get about 90% of the Copper with them.....

    First I open it up & remove the transformer, two screws.
    These transformers use a 'stacked' iron core. The plates are stacked on each other, not 'interlocked like normal transformers.

    I put that on the vise & use a cold chisel & hammer to bash across where the weld is.
    That normally weakens it a bit, then I do the same to the other side, then I start bashing off the smaller sized 'stack' of iron.
    You have gotten to the Copper wire core now, you can see it.
    Sit the transformer on the open vise & using a punch & hammer, bash the center iron core out of the Copper windings.

    That'l remove the Copper windings from the core.
    They are made of three parts, the two larger paper coated Copper windings & one small flat winding thats covered with a heat resistant glass fibre cloth. Chuck that bit out.

    Remove any loose cardboard insulation by hand. They peel off easy like.

    On the other two windings, find the end of the Copper wire, normally its a Brass clip, grab that with some pliers & pull it to unwind it a bit, it will rip thru the left over insulation & you can pull most of that off, clip off the brass clips.
    Sometimes you end up with clean wire with varnish on it. Or theres a little cardboard thats not worth taking off, no weight to it.
    Thats done then. Normally this will weigh more than 1 KG of Copper.
    On the 'convential oven/microwave' you sometimes get, one winding may be Aluminium...Bummer...
    -----------------------

    Theres other transformers on older ovens, sometimes as many as 4!. They are interlocked & you just need to cut thru the Copper wire core on one side with a carpenters wood chisel & hammer, or a meat cleaver & hammer.
    Then grab the now loose ends of the windings & wrench them out.
    Some plastic or cardboard insulation or plastic tape will be inthere with the wire, so remove that.
    That'l get you about 50 grams of Copper wire.
    --------------------

    The plate motor is normally a flatish iron disc with gears & the motor inside, thats whats on the left hand side of the photo above.
    You need to peel back one edge of the casing to then pick out the round metal disc with a flat screw driver.
    Under that theres lots of little plastic gears, pick them out, now theres another metal disc, pick that out too.
    Under that theres a small (normally blue or white) coil plastic bobbon containing a coil of very fine, hair like, Copper wire.
    I sit the bobbin on something & bash it with a hammer to break it up, then pick the wire out & clean the plastic bits out for about 30 grams of Copper wire.
    -------------------

    The round thing with the shaft thru it is the center part of a motor. Its not worth anything.
    The rest of the motor has got Copper wire on it, theres also some Ali in the bits that hold the thing in place.
    Undo the screws to get the Ali off, sometimes theres a Ali strip holding the bearings in place too.
    Sometimes the bearings are brass, mostly cast iron/brass, not worth anything.

    Take a good look at the Copper winding there & the iron bit thru its centre, if the iron bits between the outer iron structure then its easyer.
    If its not, then its sort of 'stuck' unto the end of the structure.

    If its between, then bash the motor on the side of the centre structure beside the actual armiture/revolving centre part.
    That will widen the structure beside each end of the Copper windings iron core & loosen it so it will fall off..
    Now grab the wnding with the iron core & push out the iron core with a finger.
    Now you are left with a copper coil around a plastic former, break off the flange bit on one end & pull off/unwind in chunks the Copper coil. That weighs about 50 grams..

    ------------------------------

    Tha Magnatron (WOW!!, You can now use the impressive word 'MAGNATRON' in a sentence...............)
    In the pic above you can see the two magnets inside the structure & the box on the side of it.
    Theres a ceramic thing with two wire connections on the box, just grab a hammer & bash that inside the box to loosen it.

    Now look how the structure box things connected together, theres 4 wee pushed over bits of metal, I peel them back a bit with pliers to undo the whole thing.
    Once thats done you have a Magnatron bit with magnets on it & those aluminioum fins. Pull that out from the box & you will see two thick copper wires around two black ceramic chokes that lead back into the box.
    Because before you bashed the ceramic thing inside it, it will be loose. Its best to give it a 'big pull out' & that unwinds the copper coil & drops out the ceramic chokes & you get to see the end of the thick copper wire, which you now cut off with side cutters. A few grams (8 grams Copper?)
    ---
    Now you have the magnatron with the magnets & fins, on each end theres a small thin plate holding the magnets on, pick them off & remove the magnets, leaving you with the MAGNATRON & fins.
    I put the magnatron one end up, over a 2 inch dia piece tube, with the fins flares pointing downwards, then I bash the top end of the magnatron with a hammer & drive it thru & into the peice of tubing.

    Theres also a metal mesh flat donut, I keep them, I may use them as a heat proof gasket one day.

    Now the magnatron, on each end theres a stainless steel bit welded onto the Copper centre bit.
    I have tried many many ways to do this, grinding the weld off & peeling the end plates off, messy & I cut myself sorta badly as its **** **** sharp. Under the end plates theres a thicker (2mm) steel disc with a depressed centre in it.
    The ends also have a ceramic bit, broken, these are razor sharp.

    One end has a shiney Stainless steel cap, lightly tap this with a hammer, you have to tap around it lightly so the ceramic bit breaks up in bits.
    You now can slip the SS cap off the end, under this is a copper round bit crimped flat at one end & its connected with a thick Copper wire to the magnatron centre. Cut the wire close to the magnatron centre.
    Now heres the hard bit..
    I put the centre bit in my bench vise verticaly & squash it a bit so its held in real tight.
    Now the end caps don't deform much, so this leaves a little edge where you can fit a sharp cold chisle (or a carpenters wood chisel) & cut into the copper under the SS endcap, do that in both places.
    The Copper centre is now deformed a bit & loosish in the vise.
    Take it out & swap ends & do it all again.
    Take it back out again & do it a bit deeper, now the end caps are loose & you can peel each end cap off.
    That'l get you a solid copper 'bobbin' weighing 80 grams.
    --------------

    I cut the brass plugs off all of the wiring & get about 100 grams of plastic coated wire , the copper wire weight is about 60 grams.

    Sometimes theres a lightbulb worth keeping & theres a mulitude of switches.
    If you pull part the door there is a mesh thats usefull as a sieve or mesh.
    Or if you muck around with it you can make a bread toaster for a gas cooker.
    The flat motors can make a handy drive unit for a mirror ball.
    Theres normally a thick plastic film stuck to the inside of the door. I have peeled this off slowly (use a hair dryer to soften it, or hot water) & used this to cover up a hole in a broken window.
    Last edited by eesakiwi; 12-07-2010 at 10:07 PM.

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    sscheinfe is offline New Guy
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    Can i scrap a microwave case/frame?

    Everyone is writing all about scrapping the magnetron, transformers, etc etc. But what about the case and frame? is it worth scrapping?

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    I toss the case into the tin/light iron pile.

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    Mechanic688's Avatar
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    That was a really good writeup on the microwave, I missed reading it somehow, Kudo's

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    vamped400 is offline Experienced Scrapper
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    the only thing i take out of microwaves is the electric motor and the copper wire. i just leave everything else in and throw it in my light iron pile. i used to break the motors apart, but now i just save them up and bring them back as is

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    TheMetalizer is offline Experienced Scrapper
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    Quote Originally Posted by vamped400 View Post
    the only thing i take out of microwaves is the electric motor and the copper wire. i just leave everything else in and throw it in my light iron pile. i used to break the motors apart, but now i just save them up and bring them back as is
    What about the transformers?

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    PowerPlay is offline New Guy
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesakiwi View Post
    Tha Magnatron (WOW!!, You can now use the impressive word 'MAGNATRON' in a sentence...............)
    In the pic above you can see the two magnets inside the structure & the box on the side of it.
    Theres a ceramic thing with two wire connections on the box, just grab a hammer & bash that inside the box to loosen it.
    Please understand what you are dealing with before smashing away.

    Always handle Megatrons with EXTREME care and certainly don't bash them with a hammer.

    The 'Pink' or 'White' ceramic insulator near the end of the tube often contains 'Berrylium Oxide', which is VERY nasty stuff!!!

    ====================
    Megatron Health Hazard (Wikipedia)
    ====================
    Some magnetrons have beryllium oxide (beryllia) ceramic insulators, which are dangerous if crushed and inhaled, or otherwise ingested. Single or chronic exposure can lead to berylliosis, an incurable lung condition. In addition, beryllia is listed as a confirmed human carcinogen by the IARC; therefore, broken ceramic insulators or magnetrons should not be directly handled.

    You can also search for "Berrylium Oxide Hazzards" on Youtube for an eye opening overview about how toxic it really is.

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