When I started, I was getting a lot of alternators which I'd separate into Cast Aluminum, Irony Aluminum and #1 Copper. Getting the copper wire from the alternator armature meant getting out the cardboard that held the wire in. For quite a while, I used needle-nose pliers to grab all those pieces of cardboard and pull. Very labor-intensive and didn't always work, so I'd use a small punch (like a leather-work punch) to work it out. Even more labor-intensive to the point that it wasn't cost effective. I'd also tried using a chisel to widen the spaces so the cardboard would fall out..
I'd been told about throwing the armatures in a fire to burn the cardboard so I tried it in a bonfire. I'd done this in winter, so after they got real hot, I fished them out of the fire and threw them into the snow to cool. All I got for my efforts was charcoal that was even harder to deal with than the cardboard.
Then one night I got a BFO (Brilliant Flash of the Obvious). I'd been loading the woodstove, so I got a real good bed of coal, threw in five armatures, completely covered them with the coals, threw in a couple pieces of oak on top of that and left them for about 15 minutes. When I came back and fished them out with the poker; the armatures were cherry-red, the wire was even redder and the cardboard was completely burned away. Threw the armatures in a bucket water (listen to the LOUD hiss and watch the steam) to cool down. Now the wire practically falls out.
People may laugh at me, but that's ok. I laugh all the way to the bank.
Mick, leave much sign the wires had been burnt? If we bring in anything that has signs of being
burnt, we have to have a statement from where it came from..blah blah blah
I usually just sell them together but would not mind gathering some during the summer so when
heavy snow hits and can't "hunt" as much, the dog and I would have more to do in the shop
No. I can't sell burnt wire here, either. There is no sign of burning as there is with burning off insulation because you are not burning anything off of the wire and the wire, itself is not burnt. All your burning is the cardboard that holds the wires in.
Thanks !! Think I will hang onto the couple I have and give it a test run. If I can sell them fine it might be a plan for next year to just gather some for during the bad weather we have more to sort. I heat the shop with a big woodstove anyway.
As the copper is annealed ( softened) by the fire, its better to cut the end off the loops before burning them.
Alternators, Inner. (armiture)
I have tried a bunch of methods, burning, unwinding, chisel & cut- then pull the wires out.
Each suits varying alternators, some you can unwind the wire from the armiture, even if you have to stand there for 1/2 a hour wiggling it each time it goes thru the wiggley slots.
Burning them removes the insulation, so theres more room in there to remove the wire.
Unfortunatly it also softens the wire & it snaps easy like...
I have used a chisle to cut thru the wire spool, then pulled the windings out with a pair of pliers.
Do the cutting before burning the armiture, as when you burn it, it loosens the wire spool, then when you cut the wire, it can & will shift around the shaft, stuffing things up.....
Sometimes you can burn it, then hammer the shaft off one end of the spool & get easy acess to the wire (this hardly ever works like that though...) Even when I cut 1/2 way thru everything with a grinder with cut off disc, the spools still grip the shaft..
Don't forget that the metal plate thats got the diodes on it (1/2 moon shape with small 12mm dia discs on it) is mostly made from copper too.
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