Maximizing Your Profits From Scrap Tungsten and Carbide Metals

Carbide drill bits

Scrap tungsten carbide holds significant value when scrapped with knowledgeable yards who can accurately identify and assess its worth. But what makes tungsten carbide so valuable? How can you recognize it, and what steps can you take to maximize the profit from recycling tungsten carbide scrap?

What is Tungsten Carbide?

Tungsten carbide is a hard, dense metal that combines tungsten and carbon atoms. This gray metal is shaped through a process called “sintering,” resulting in a metal with remarkable durability and hardness. Tungsten carbide is often called “carbide,” although the term technically applies to any metal combined with carbon.

Where Can You Find Tungsten Carbide Scrap?

Tungsten carbide’s incredible strength, hardness, and heat resistance make it highly valuable in various industries. It is typically found in:

  • Cutting Tools: Tungsten carbide is essential in machining for making drill bits, saw blade tips, and milling tools that last longer than standard steel. Search for machine shops and call them to see if they have any scrap.
  • Medical Instruments: Dental and surgical tools often contain tungsten carbide. This may be a harder find, as they are a niche industry with more strict disposal rules. It couldn’t hurt to follow up with local clinics in your area.
  • Jewelry: Its hardness and scratch resistance have made it popular for wedding bands and other jewelry. This will likely be a scrap find instead of a contact in your network. Hopefully, no one is throwing out jewelry!

How to Identify Tungsten Carbide

Identifying tungsten carbide can be done through several methods:

  1. Weight: Tungsten carbide is heavier than steel, with a weight closer to lead or gold.
  2. Magnetism: It is less magnetic than steel.
  3. Spark Test: When ground, tungsten carbide produces compact, orange sparks, unlike the white, dispersed sparks from steel.

How Much is Tungsten Carbide Worth?

The value of scrap tungsten carbide varies depending on market conditions but generally ranges between $5 to $10 per pound. The specific worth depends on the type and the other metals that may be inside.

Finding Yards That Accept Tungsten Carbide

Not all scrap yards accept tungsten carbide due to its classification as a rare earth metal. To find yards that do, you’ll need to do some research. Using the iScrap App, you can search local yards and see if anyone has reported scrap prices for any of the following metals:

If you find yards that have prices for any of these, then contact them and inquire about their tungsten carbide policies. Finding a yard with experience in handling and accurately evaluating tungsten carbide is essential to ensure you receive a fair price for your scrap. If you have no one nearby, consider shipping your scrap carbide to RRCarbide. They have years of experience buying all sorts of rare earth metals. Get a quote from their team and take advantage of their free shipping options!