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Thread: Melting scrap copper wire

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    wayne1956 started this thread.
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    Melting scrap copper wire

    Has anybody thought about melting their copper wire into ingots for storage? I have entertained the idea (not seriously yet, but entertaining the notion), and just wondered if anyone else has thought about it. From what I can tell, the purity of copper wire is 99.99%. Supposedly it has to be that to efficiently conduct the electricity. If anyone has considered it, I wonder what would be a good way to melt it. I am assuming furnace. Also, anyone have any idea what the purity of copper tubing would be (since it does not need to conduct electricity)?



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    Why would you do the smelters job for them?
    Resist them obsessive-compulsive temptations

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    It would only be worth it if you had 40,000 lbs ....thats the only way the foundries will accept it.

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    It was covered here: http://www.scrapmetalforum.com/showt...-making-ingots

    What I started wondering was if I make the copper into ingots, are the law enforcement officers going to be watching me even closer?

    Will the yard even take it, since they get the "stomp" notices from law enforcement here in CO? The one I saw today had 90 lbs of copper grounding rods stolen. What better way to hide it than to make ingots?

    Also, as stated above the yard will not pay more for an ingot than they do the regular copper.

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    wayne1956 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Patton View Post
    Also, as stated above the yard will not pay more for an ingot than they do the regular copper.
    That is true if I was going to sell it to the yard. I entertained the thought of maybe using them in the future as barter material. As my original post states, it is all in the "what if" stage, I am not actively looking to act on it at this time.

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    Thats funny ground rods are not copper..just plated..lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjones99 View Post
    Thats funny ground rods are not copper..just plated..lol
    Did not know that. Just saw the notice.

    Still makes me think that the law will be looking real close at any scrapper making ingots.

    Yes, none of us have anything to hide. I just do not want to be entertaining law enforcement at work all the time.
    Last edited by Patton; 05-21-2011 at 07:25 PM. Reason: Coherancy

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    If you're not gaining anything, and you're going to be selling it to the yard as is, why would you spend time or money on it? Now if you're hoarding it, ingots are much easier to handle than 300 pounds of wire.

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    IF you really want to make ingots check out this site. http://www.backyardmetalcasting.com/index.html He shows the cheapest way to get into a forge. You have the different kind of fuels to choose from.

    I do cast my Al and Cu into ingots. The cost is free for me since I do sand-casting. Still learning on the metallurgy of smelting for purity.

    I have been visited by local sheriffs that know I melt metal, twice. Both times after scrap was stolen in the area.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne1956 View Post
    From what I can tell, the purity of copper wire is 99.99%.

    Its usually just .999 copper, sometimes less.

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    I have been visited by local sheriffs that know I melt metal, twice. Both times after scrap was stolen in the area.
    Patton, Is that just cause you look suspicious??? lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by sjones99 View Post
    Thats funny ground rods are not copper..just plated..lol
    When I first started pounding ground rods, they were solid. But by 1990 they were not anymore.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mechanic688 View Post
    Patton, Is that just cause you look suspicious??? lol
    Like I need another tweak of whatever it is I am tweaking on?

    Some say "YES!"

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    I melted several pounds of stranded wire in a homemade foundry of mine. What I found was that the amount of dross, and oxidation, due to large surface area, gave me a very small return. Granted, it was the first time I tried it, but with the cost of fuel, time and limited return, I decided not to proceed.....................yet!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyjeb View Post
    I melted several pounds of stranded wire in a homemade foundry of mine. What I found was that the amount of dross, and oxidation, due to large surface area, gave me a very small return. Granted, it was the first time I tried it, but with the cost of fuel, time and limited return, I decided not to proceed.....................yet!

    The colors coming off the furnace are awesome when your melting copper into either anodes and ingots.

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    If I have a lot of copper wire, like 5 Kgs & its taking up space. I put it into a metal pot & then start bashing it with a hammer.

    I have used a old kitchen pot & its stood up to the bashing.
    I just fill it with the burnt off wire & start hammering it around the outside, just inside of the pot.
    As it compresses I just add more wire.
    Then I keep bashing it, using a small sledge hammer untill its solid.
    I have also used a metal post for bigger jobs.

    You would be really surprised how easy it is & also how much it compresses.
    I can fit 10Kg of burnt wire into a shoulder bag & take the free bus to the scrappers!!

    If they want to see inside it to check what it is, all they have to do is cut it in 1/2 or take a chunk out using their guillotine.

  18. #17
    wayne1956 started this thread.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eesakiwi View Post
    If I have a lot of copper wire, like 5 Kgs & its taking up space. I put it into a metal pot & then start bashing it with a hammer.

    I have used a old kitchen pot & its stood up to the bashing.
    I just fill it with the burnt off wire & start hammering it around the outside, just inside of the pot.
    As it compresses I just add more wire.
    Then I keep bashing it, using a small sledge hammer untill its solid.
    I have also used a metal post for bigger jobs.

    You would be really surprised how easy it is & also how much it compresses.
    I can fit 10Kg of burnt wire into a shoulder bag & take the free bus to the scrappers!!

    If they want to see inside it to check what it is, all they have to do is cut it in 1/2 or take a chunk out using their guillotine.
    Basically what I do with mine right now is I put the #1 and #2 into two separate identical 5 gallon buckets. I will put the #1 bucket inside the #2 bucket and leave it there for a while to compress the #2. It is amazing how solid a block it will compress to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne1956 View Post
    Basically what I do with mine right now is I put the #1 and #2 into two separate identical 5 gallon buckets. I will put the #1 bucket inside the #2 bucket and leave it there for a while to compress the #2. It is amazing how solid a block it will compress to.

    I do the same thing. I have a big pot at the bottom then buckets stacked on top,(3 or 4 high) as the buckets fill up it compresses the bottom bucket pretty well. I can fit 40 pounds of mixed copper into a five gallon bucket.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonnyjeb View Post
    I melted several pounds of stranded wire in a homemade foundry of mine. What I found was that the amount of dross, and oxidation, due to large surface area, gave me a very small return. Granted, it was the first time I tried it, but with the cost of fuel, time and limited return, I decided not to proceed.....................yet!
    did you use charcoal dust as a degasser??( the carbon gets converted to co and co2..I would also burn the wire prior to smelting to burn of the plastic pvc coatings..

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    I stripped all the wire of insulation first, before I tried melting. I can't bring myself to burn insulation. I didn't use any flux whatsoever, so there is a lot of room for improvement on my melt trial. In fact, much of the dross was copper, so I suppose I could have used flux to make the copper more fluid during he melt, I just haven't had time to refine the process...............yet


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