How To Take Apart A Scrap Industrial Transformer

So you got lucky and got your hands on a big industrial transformer ready for scrap. Good for you. That’s a great score. This will not only be a great item to cash in but also something you may want to consider taking apart.

What Can I Get Paid for a Scrap Transformer?

Without Taking It Apart…

Depending on how your scrap yard grades transformers (copper or aluminum), you may get anywhere from $0.02-0.15 per pound depending on current market conditions and the grading of material, which is up to the discretion of your scrap yard.

If you have a copper should be getting a higher price per pound. But the steel casing is so heavy that we don’t suggest expecting anything of too high of value.

If you have an aluminum will be getting a lower price for the whole unit compared to the copper ones. Again, due to the nature of aluminum being worth less per pound and the steel attached.

Is It Worth It To Take A Transformer Apart?

When you are looking to make the most money on your scrap transformer, we almost always suggest taking apart at least the copper transformers, and you should consider taking apart the aluminum ones if you have the right time/experience/tools.

Take apart your copper transformer…because the price of copper always being much higher than steel, we suggest cutting the copper coils out and scrapping them separately from the steel.

Sometimes take apart your aluminum transformer…while we recommend doing it, it’s not always a make or break. If you have experience taking apart a transformer, with the right tools, and time it could be worth it. But, if you don’t have the time and just want to scrap it, that’s ok too.

How Do I Take Apart A Industrial Transformer for Scrap?

Estimated Time: 45 min – 1 hour

Estimated Profit: 200-300% Increase

So you’re ready to take apart a scrap transformer and you need to know what steps and tools are required to do so. You’re in luck! We have a great video for you to get started with along with the right tools below you’re going to need.

What Tools Will I Need:

When you are ready to get started, we have the basic tools you will need to get the coils removed from the steel casing. Some other tools you may need are a wrench set, safety glasses, and leather gloves (so you don’t get cut).

Steps for Taking Apart Scrap Transformer:

  1. Cut Bolts – Grab your sawzall and a new blade to get started. Cut the steel bolts from the top of the transformer.
  2. Cut Attached Connections – Whether they are aluminum or copper, there will be connected windings to the steel plate on the top. Cut those away from the coils below so you have a better working area.
  3. Begin Cutting Corners – Cut the corners of the coils on one of the outsides. You will want to cut the other side too, so you can pull the “C” shaped coil away from the center of the transformer.
  4. Pull Coil Away  – Once you cut the coils, you should be able to pull away the layers from the center of the transformer by using a crowbar, using leverage to pry it away.
  5. Cut the Other Side – Repeat the previous two steps on the other side and pull the coil away from the center.
  6. Remove Remaining Cut Coils – Where you previously pulled the “C” shaped coils away on either side, you’re going to have remaining pieces of coils in the middle of the middle coil. Use your hammer and crowbar to remove this from the center to have a more clear area to work.
  7. Cut the Center Coil – You are going to cut the corners of the center coil and remove it similar to the outside ones, but this one may have to be pushed through on an angle with the hammer and crowbar.
  8. Remove All Remaining Coil Pieces – The coils (whether they are copper or aluminum) will have some paper around them that can be sticky and prevent all the coils from coming off clean. Make sure to use your crowbar or hammer to remove the coils.
  9. Weigh Up Steel Casing – When you go to your scrap yard, you will want to get the steel casing weighed separately from your coils. Typically it will weigh anywhere from 500-1,200 pounds depending on the size.
  10. Weigh Your Coils – Aluminum coils will weigh much less compared to copper, but you can expect anywhere from 100-250 pounds of Aluminum and 150-350 pounds of Copper depending on the size of the unit.

Have more questions or wondering if it’s worth taking apart your scrap transformer? Join our Facebook group and chat with some of your fellow scrappers.

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