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Thread: Carbide Recycling

  1. #1
    CAS
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    Carbide Recycling

    My husband and I started doing some part time scrapping this past year. He works in construction and brings home a bit of scrap bare brite and aluminum here and there. We usually have enough in 2-3 weeks of scrapping to make it worthwhile to cash in.

    I just noticed that one of the scrap yards in our state takes carbide and posts a picture of drill bits and says they're paying $3.50 per pound (today's price). It seems like it might be worth it to have my husband pick up the used bits around the job if there's a way to tell if they are carbide vs some other material. Has anybody ever scrapped drill bits? Are most of them made of pure carbide?

    Thanks for the help



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    I just wanted to say that I contacted the yard that buys bits. They told me they'd take any drill bits that a magnet doesn't stick to and they'd sort them out for me.

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    for the record, here in portland oregon, carbide is going for 5$+ a pound. not sure how to figure out whats carbide and what isn't other than maybe the color (gun metal)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 503scrapper View Post
    for the record, here in portland oregon, carbide is going for 5$+ a pound. not sure how to figure out whats carbide and what isn't other than maybe the color (gun metal)
    Wow - that's a real good price. If you find out how to tell the difference, I'd love to know. I plan on keeping anything that isn't magnetic and letting the yard identify what's what. But it's always better to know what you have than to trust somebody else.

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    The density of Cemented Tungston Carbide falls somewhere between that of gold and lead (depending on the cobalt content). That means only a small bit of it will be quite heavy. Carbide is used in drill bits because of its incredible hardness, but is used judiciously because its so expensive. (That is why you usually will see sets of drill bits or saw blades with only carbide "tips.") To test if a drill bit is made of tungston carbide, take a flat file and try to grind it. If it is carbide, it shouldn't be effected very much. If someone at your husbands work has carbide drill bits, they probably paid a great deal for them and aren't just throwing them away.

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    Carbide is used on end mills alot. Looks like a drillbit but flat on the end with a star shaped cutter. Another really good source of this is gages. If you can get big plug gages from factories used to inspect metal parts with it's a gold mine.

    Carbide is a darker gray than steel and you can tell it by looking at it. Look almost like it's coated in graphite.

    I'd also sell it on ebay than to your local yard. If you check metalsmarket it goes for like $7.00 / lb.

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    I never saw a carbon steel endmill either - I said "carbide". Drill bits are almost all steel though.

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    Better tools such as drill bits, end mills and other cutters are made out of HSS not carbon. (High speed steel) I believe you can do good selling this if its sorted as such and you can find a place to buy it.

    Solid carbide drills are rarely found, usually tipped. They are silver soldered to the body, can of course de solder them.

    Inserts for lathe and mill tools are usually carbide, but be careful there are steel ones!

    And yes, carbide is heavy, darker colored. Don't use a file to test it won't tell you anything as it can not touch HSS either, a grinding wheel is better, but grinding it is hazardous!

    Also Carbide is slightly magnetic.

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    Hello new to the forum, enjoy reading the all the posts informative
    started scrapping about 2 yrs ago when i lost my job
    got the job back

    If u want it might be a long shot but check out your local machine and fabrication
    shops they might just throw away the drill bits after they break
    carbide is also brittle


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