Speculating on Copper Price

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  • Speculating on Copper Price

  • #2
    G'day Ben. Very interesting thoughts in your video. Just a couple of comments/questions.

    What is you view on stripping electrical cable to recover the wire which is classified as No 1 Bright? Up here in Qld, the difference between insulated copper wire and No 1 bright is roughly $5 per kg. From my perspective, time is NOT of the essence. Just one of the benefits of being retired. However even I baulk at wasting time. So my question is simply, is it worth stripping cable.

    First problem is the cable sizes. Anything from 1mm upwards. Obviously the bigger the cable, the easier it is to strip, but the smaller sizes are very fiddly. I have a manual cable stripper which is actually a copper pipe flaring tool. Works very well on bigger cable but doesn't have the smaller sizes. I would have to make something. That's not a problem, but is the effort worthwhile? I do a lot of car stripping so get a lot of looms. I get paid by weight of the loom, plastic coverings included, and some of those coverings have some weight. Can buy commercial versions that go down to 2.5mm, bit how small is too small?

    Also noted that your copper bin appears to contain both bright and burnt. Knowing that you like to melt your copper into ingots, just wondered if the type of Cu wire makes any difference to achieving your ingot. Scrap yards certainly see a difference between No 1 and burnt. As I think you said, copper is copper, no matter if it has some coating on it. All motors etc have a coating because of the nature of electric motors. Even tiny electric motors out of computers, the wire has a coating. You wouldn't think so, but if you scrape it and look closely, there is definitely a coating.

    In your comments on types of Al you say that extruded is the best value. I get more for alloy wheels than extruded. My bloke says that alloy wheels are the best in Al. Just asking.

    By the way, your previous video on the benefits of going on You Tube was a bit of any eye opener. Never new how it worked in the sense that you described. Thinking about it, so we will see.



    • #3
      Hi Bill,

      Yes, Youtube is a great avenue for sharing one's information, especially blokes that have a lifetime of skills and information that the new generation are missing out on because of all the modern distractions.
      There's a lot of good information that's going to waste stuck in peoples heads and not being shared.
      So yeah, I encourage anyone that has knowledge and wants to share their info & life to give it a go, especially everlasting subjects like PM recovery and stuff, people will watch that stuff for many years after they are put up on youtube, for ever even.

      Yeah no doubt there's higher grades of aluminium but I was referring to what we get from general scrapping & e-waste.

      No I don't strip any wire aside from heavy gauge, about the thickness of a pen.
      Everything else is just sold as is because there's no extra value, in fact some wire can be tinned copper, some is even aluminium so I think there would be a loss, plus time wasted.

      Melting copper wire is different to melting bar or pipe, and yeah there's even a difference when melting bright wire to melting lacquered wire.
      To achieve really nice ingots with lacquered wire I need to melt two times as there's a lot of impurities that sits at the bottom of the crucible and messes with how the bar ends up, craters etc.

      But even bright wire can have a very fine coating of lacquer so as to make it less prone to tarnishing after manufacturing so I prefer to melt twice which is why I mix it up.

      Some scrap yards actually throw copper all in together after they pay you according to grade as for them it's the same thing too, it all goes through the same furnace at the end of the line and they end up with the same thing, 99.99% copper, the grading is just to factor in the loss during the melting process.


      • #4
        Thanks Ben, gives me a better understanding. So I can strip heavier gauge with the tools I've got, no problem. So the rest can just go through as insulated, I get heaps of it.

        Well I guess you have done the sums when it comes to melting twice, and it is worthwhile. Guess it's like gold recovery from computers etc. The more time you take in washing your precipitant, the better the purity.

        Don't know if I want to get into melting copper, but I need to do something with cast Al. You get so many electric motors or similar that you cannot get the steel components out of. So I have heaps of irony Al worth a few cents compared to what the Al is worth on its own. My people up here tell me that Al ingots are not readily accepted. They could have steel in them! So the best method is to melt the Al and have it drop into a tank of cold water so that you end up with shot. That is very acceptable.

        Anyway, thanks for the info Ben, and I must consider You Tube.

        OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's


        • #5
          Steel in aluminium? That's kinds silly in two ways, first, steel takes a serious heat to pour and would not mix with aluminium, it would simply sit at the bottom if there was any aluminium left at 5 times it's melting temp'
          second, an aluminium bar with steel would be magnetic.

          It's just as silly as the argument I get on youtube about copper bars.
          first, no-one would make copper bars to sell as scrap and the same argument about steel, but when I ask those youtube scrap yards if they buy copper pipe which could have rocks stuffed inside, they soon realise they are arguing a silly argument.

          Any good yard would have a magnet, a real good yard will have an xrf if they handled volumes of casted metals.
          Places like sims actually melt their aluminium into ingots before shipping, I have watched it and they fill containers just with the ingots to onsell.


          • #6
            Hey Ben, your points are well taken.

            But this is the type of cr*p we put up with up here. I flatten all my Al cans, that way I can get a lot more into a wool bale and my bloke up here in boonies is quite happy with that, but he has told me that the dealers in Brisbane would rather then not crushed in case you put something heavy in them, like stones or concrete.

            But even the availability of xrf is uncommon. We still operate in the dark ages to some degree. Your Cu bars, if you sold them for scrap, would be questioned. Even my mate up here questioned why you would spend time doing it, but could see the point when I told him what they can bring on eBay

            I don't mind spending time on something to get some value added, and as a retiree, time is not the essence. But even so, I still regularly question whether that time could be better spent doing something else. I very much like electric motors and compressors, and they are a good deal for me to take time and strip them. Having said that, some motors as you would know, are almost impossible to strip, so I made the decision to chuck them in the electric motor bin. Then I can spend a bit more time cutting open compressors and making some money. Just stripped a load of air cons, got several more loads to come, but whilst cutting one open, I wondered if I was wasting time. So I weighed the compressor - 11kg, and then stripped it out. Ended up with 10kg No.1 steel & 1 kg of Cu, also got a whole 75gr of brass. so at the end of the day, I was $5 in front.

            My bloke up here can't afford that time to strip, so he gives me all his compressors to strip as if they were mine. And that would be the problem for anyone trying to make a full time living out of scrapping, you can't afford the time.

            And just for interest, I spent today, well 4 hours, stripping out a Statesman. Top of the range and the first one I've ever done. I am still not quite finished, but the amount of wiring loom is phenomenal. Separate looms from each side of the engine bay, a mini loom through the head lining, a full thickness loom through to the boot, each door has electric motors for the windows, and so it goes on. There are mini looms under the carpets, and behind the dashboard is copper wire heaven. So I will have to look closely at what is worth stripping out for No.1 bright.

            Anyway, finish it in the morning, and then I have 2 Meteors to strip. And I won't get fat working in this heat, out in the sun.

            OKEDEN SCRAP & PM's