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  • #13
    Okay, been a long process and something I don't want to do again, certainly not, because of the lack of return on my effort and time. I'm going to give you a lot of numbers, so bear with it, and this is a good lesson in value added scrapping.

    I started out with 18.04 kg of mixed insulated wire. By mixed I mean anything from wire looms out of white goods to extension leads to PC power cords etc. The break up, in my opinion, was 2.28 kg of light (30%) insulated wire, and 15.76 of better class wire (43%). The value of that insulated wire was $37.74. I must add that as I progressed I found that I had far more lower grade than I thought.

    So out of that 18.04 kg I recovered .66 kg of Tinned Copper, 2.10 kg of Burnt and 2.12 kg of Milberry, plus .20 kg of low grade I didn't bother with. Total value $32.41. So I blew it. But the $5 loss was a good investment for me in learning how to add value to my product.

    The major drawback was extension leads, PC power cables and any other power lead that contains 2 or 3 or 4 cables within an outer insulation casing. The classic example is a 30 metre, heavy duty extension lead that used to power my scrap workshop. The lead weighed 4.24 kg. Immediate thought was that is should be worth $9.54 as insulated copper wire. However, after stripping the breakdown was; outer insulation 2.08 kg, inner insulation 1.04 kg and Milberry 1.12 kg. So that is a recovery of 26%. So that makes the extension lead low grade and only a $1 per kilo. So not worth $9.54 but only $4.24. So the Milberry would be worth $8.12. So that's a 52% increase in value.. BUT, if you value your time, you would have to think twice about this process. Firstly you have to strip 30 metres of outer insulation. Then you have to strip 3 x 30 metre cables inside. Whilst this machine that Ben and I have is good, it takes a lot of time to complete the stripping. Look, if you're a hobbyist, then the time factor probably doesn't matter. But for the likes of Ben and myself, time is pretty important. I could spend that time stripping out refrigerator cabinets for copper tubing running through the insulation, and collecting the light gauge steel which we make into "bricks" and get a premium price for. It is very much up to the individual to make a decision based on the personal circumstances.

    However, not all doom and gloom. Single cables are of value. They only take one cut and you can strip out the copper wire. Some examples - 1 kg of .839 mm2 gives you 50% recovery. !/2 kg of Milberry is worth $3.62 compared to $2.25 for the insulated wire. That's an uplift of 50%. 1 kg of 2 mm2 gives 59% recovery. 590 gr of Milberry is worth $4.28. An uplift of 90%. 1 kg of 1 mm2 gives 66.6% recovery. 666 gr of Milberry is worth $4.83. An uplift of 115%.

    So what am I saying. Forget the multi core cables encased in an outer core of insulation. Like extension leads and power cords. They take just too long to process for little return. If you have nothing better to do, then I guess it's okay. I'd rather use that time to strip some compressors or electric motors. Even cutting open a fridge cabinet. Single cables are a different story. They need only one cut and you have either Milberry, Tinned Copper or Burnt Copper.

    But investing in a $400 machine needs some thought. How much copper cable are you going to have access to? You will need to process almost 300 metres of cable at 50% uplift to pay for your machine. And that is at my prices here in Qld as of today. No idea what will happen next week.

    So there you have it. It's taken a while but from my point of view it has been worth my time to really work out the economics of stripping insulated copper wire. Must admit, I was surprised at the return on the lower gauge cables. But imagine the return on the battery cables on a motor car. Don't need a machine to strip them, just a sharp knife.

    Now my next project is to convert all the burnt copper to Milberry. It's a chemical process and I should be able to convert the 2.10 kg of burnt to Milberry. Not suggesting anyone starts playing with acids. That's how you can get serious damage. And for a few dollars, not worth it. But it's part of what I've trained to do, so we will see what happens.

    Hope I've been able to enlighten some of you into the value, or not, of stripping copper wire. If anyone has a question, just fire it back through the forum and I will do my best to answer you.

    Cheers, Bill
    OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's
    http://www.okedenscrapandpms.com.au

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    • #14
      Great effort Bill and thanks for sharing your experience. The results pretty much mirror what Ben found in his latest video - too much time and effort for very little extra reward. Particularly when scrap yards pay reasonably good money for insulated wire anyways!
      The last time I tried to strip a multi wire cords I remember having trouble un-twirling it to be able to strip the inner wires!! So the whole process just eats time up which could be better spent elsewhere. The other thing is that it also leaves a pile of insulation to be disposed of. Too many negatives and not enough positives unless it's nice thick copper wire.
      Cheers,
      Chris

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      • #15
        I must add something else that I overlooked before. When talking about Milberry, the number one copper, it has to meet some pretty strict guidelines. I stripped out some 12 AWG wire this afternoon. that's about 3.31 mm2. This cable was brand new, unused. I'll post a pic of it and you will see what Milberry looks like. Unfortunately it is stranded wire and will be classified as Candy rather than Milberry. Also known as Hair Wire. We are talking 45 cents a kilo difference. By comparison, the wire I have been stripping over the last few days will only rate as Candy. That's okay from my point of view. I'm still in front. The tinned copper I recovered during the demonstration will be treated as burnt and return 70 cents a kilo less than Candy. I'll try to add a couple more photos showing the colour of the various wire recovered.
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        So what you are seeing is the good looking wire recovered from the experiment, then the dirtier wire. The last pick is today's effort which would be Milberry if it was of an appropriate gauge. What's an appropriate gauge? Well you are going to have to talk to your yard and see how they define it. But as you can see, it is all what is called Hair Wire. Nothing wrong with that, it's just that it is 45 cents a kilo less than the best.

        I guess if I'm going to do experiments like this, or explain how I do my scrapping, I'd better get a GoPro and make videos like Ben. Could probably explain things better being live so to speak.

        Just thought I would add this comment after talking to my yard this afternoon. Cheers.
        Attached Files
        OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's
        http://www.okedenscrapandpms.com.au

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        • #16
          Thanks again Bill and interesting - my yard takes it as Milberry/Shiny (no1) or burnt (no2) - nothing in between - I coil/twist mine into large rolls which they seem to like also.

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          • #17
            Lucky boy LoveaGood Scrap. Plenty of in betweens here in Qld. Good luck to you.
            OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's
            http://www.okedenscrapandpms.com.au

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            • #18
              My yard doesn't say a word about my candy copper. They pay the same as bare bright. As long as it's shiny.

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              • #19
                I guess this is one of the problems we face Inner City. Depending on which state you live in, and even within the same state, there are different definitions. Just like road rules, every state different. Same goes for prices of all scrap metal. There are some huge differences around the country, but at the end of the day, the metal is the same in Qld as it is in Vic or WA. And so much of it ends up in China anyway. But I guess we can only work with what we know we can get within our own areas and work to value add the product wherever it is feasible. Cheers
                OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's
                http://www.okedenscrapandpms.com.au

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