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How do I sort aluminum?

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    zakmattingly started this thread.
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    How do I sort aluminum?

    I have an overflowing bucket of aluminum. None of it separated. I need to know how to tell the difference between cast aluminum and aluminum extrusion. For the most part I can tell what's what but there are a few things that I just don't have a clue. Things that you might think are cast but are shiny and things you would think are clean but break instead of bend. I don't want to have to go through every piece with a hammer. Is there another method to discerning the types because for me it's a $.27 difference and I don't wanna get mix prices for anything, no matter what it is, ever. I'm quite the penny pincher.

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    Mick's Avatar
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    Sometimes it's hard to tell. You've got the basics. Extrusion is made by pushing molten aluminum through a form as opposed to pouring it into a cast, so it will be uniform size and shape from one end to the other. It will have "fins" (think window frames and heat sinks). Extrusion will bend. Cast aluminum is usually duller than extrusion or painted and brittle (ie: lawn mower deck). Sheet aluminum is made by pouring molten aluminum into a cast or rolling in a sheet which is then formed into shape (roofing). With practice, you'll get to identifying each by a glance.
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    parrothead's Avatar
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    If you ever see any "seams" left over from the manufacturing process, that is a give away for cast as well. Those would be left from a mold.

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    newattitude's Avatar
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    Some of that shiny stuff is die cast too (according to my yard guy) - I do the ''tink, tink'' test with a screw driver on it lol. If you tap it it sounds like ''tink tink.'' If I ever have a piece I'm not sure of I trust him enough to just hand it to him and say I wasn't sure what it was and let him put it where it belongs.

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    hobo finds's Avatar
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    Yards by me pay in the following alum types

    MLC
    Extruded
    Cast
    Paint
    Dirty / Furnace

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    martyweil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hobo finds View Post
    Yards by me pay in the following alum types

    MLC
    Extruded
    Cast
    Paint
    Dirty / Furnace
    What would be helpful (and something I can't seem to find anywhere) for newbies like me would be a set of images showing the different types of alum that you've outline here. Written descriptions are okay, but, when you face a pile of alum all mixed together, it becomes a great challenge to visually identify and sort the types. Does anyone have representative images of the types? Or, even better, buckets of sorted alum showing each type in its proper place?

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  8. #7
    RustyDollars's Avatar
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    Marty. Click on the Scrapmonster tab at the top of the page, then click on aluminum and an image and description of each will pop up.

    Aluminum 6063 Scrap Price in 02 Jun 2012
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  10. #8
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    Take some to the yard and ask them to show you or go the yard when you know they are not very busy and ask them to show you the difference. They will help you because they want you to sort it before you bring it in. I've been doing this for 5 years and still ask questions sometimes when I go to the yard and still learning.

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    ParkerFlyer4's Avatar
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    I currently have 5 different buckets for Aluminum. I Just separate everything as much as I can, It makes it easy when turning it in. The yard will combine buckets for me sometimes, If i'm not sure about what I have.

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    rca987's Avatar
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    The yard I use has Clean alum sheet, cast alum and dirty alum.. Cast has a more rougher feeling than sheet, cast also is more brittle and is likely to crack or break when it with a hammer.

    I have 55gal steel drums that I chop all my sheet alum up and fill the drums with it.

    It's silly, but even though there is different categories, they still group them together and have the same prices.
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    still looking for such a post. pictures are worth a thousand words or more...start using more photos. I still can't figure out why we can't post pics without a URL?
    Thank you,
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  15. #12
    Mechanic688's Avatar
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    Pro, Look at this site and watch the slide show, it has most of the different types shown.
    There's always going to be some other stuff that is not in a picture but this covers most of the stuff you will encounter.

    Scrap Aluminum Recycling | Materials & Pictures | Scrap Aluminum Price | Aluminum Buyers | Sell Aluminum
    P & M Recycling - Specializing in E-Waste Recycling.
    If it plugs in or runs on battery, we recycle it.

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    LOL Mechanic, I grew up 20 minutes east of that location. My dad takes some stuff their now and then.
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