Scrap Metal Tricks of the Trade

When you’re a scrapper, staying on top of market news, price changes, and other events that may affect your profits at the scrap yard is essential. But it is also essential to keep up with the latest tips and information that can help you quickly make more money.
Staying updated with the latest tips and tricks for scrapping can help you scrap faster and more efficiently. You can watch different YouTube channels and participate in forums to help you expand your knowledge and make more money scrapping. Below, we have collected some of the most popular tricks of the trade when recycling scrap metal.

Do These Scrapper Tricks Of The Trade Work?

Keeping track of the best tricks and ways to scrap is essential to ensure you make the most money on your materials like copper, wire, e-scrap, brass, and more. We have rated the different types of tricks below on a difficulty scale of 1-3 stars, with three stars being the most difficult.

Magnet Test ★☆☆

We have gone over it plenty of times, not because we like to repeat ourselves but to make it known how important it is to use your magnet for scrap metal. If you take a magnet (even from your fridge) and it sticks to your metal, it will be a ferrous material like steel or iron. If the magnet doesn’t stick, it will be a non-ferrous material like copper, aluminum, or Brass, generally worth more money.

Rockaway Recycling Magnet
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Suggested Reading: Difference Between Non-Ferrous & Ferrous Metals

Using A File ★★☆

When identifying materials you are unsure of, having a file on hand is handy. Not a nail file, but a metal file. You can use a metal file to file down coated items or wires to determine the type of metal it is. This can come in handy with copper and brass. Some pipes may be tarnished, but if you use a file, you can see the color of the metal. The reddish color will be copper, and the yellowish color will be brass. If you have different types of wire, use the handle file. A silver color will be aluminum, and reddish will be copper.

10” Flat File, Comfortable Anti-Slip Grip
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This is a must-have for scrappers looking to see what kind of metal they are dealing with. Especially helpful for transformers, copper, brass, and plates!

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03/13/2024 01:45 pm GMT

Suggested Reading: 5 Essential Tools Every Scrapper Needs

Spark Test ★★★

A spark test will require a grinding stone or tabletop sanding disc. Getting the necessary equipment together to have a reliable spark test is a bit of a challenge. Still, if you are dealing with a wide variety of metals regularly, learning the benefits of a spark test could be worth your time and money. A spark test will help you determine the type of metal you have based on the characteristics of the spark it produces. Each metal has its chemical compound that will be differentiated with a spark test.

WEN 6502T 4.3-Amp 4 x 36 in. Belt and 6 in. Disc Sander with Cast Iron Base
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03/13/2024 10:37 pm GMT

Stripping Your Wire ★★☆

Combining your various types of copper wire can be rewarding when you bring the load to the scrap yard. But if you want to make some extra money, knowing what types and sizes of wires should be stripped for more significant profits is essential. As a general rule of thumb, we suggest stripping wires and cable loads that weigh more than 50 pounds if they are thicker than your pinky finger. If the wire is less than the width of your pinky finger, it may not be worth your time to strip it for the return of bare bright wire from inside.

IRWIN VISE-GRIP Wire Stripper
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2 inch Jaw, Cuts 10-24 AWG, ProTouch Grip for Maximum Comfort

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03/14/2024 06:01 am GMT

Suggested Reading: How-To: Strip Copper Wire for Scrap

Know Your Tare ★☆☆

If you are constantly using different containers for your scrap when bringing it to the yard, it may be a good idea to mark the tare on the side of the container for your knowledge.

Tare: a deduction from the gross weight of a substance and its container made in allowance for the weight of the container.

Many scrappers use standard 5-gallon buckets to collect scrap copper, brass, or steel. Others use whole garbage cans. Whatever containers you use, it could be a good idea to spray paint the weight of each on the side of them. That way, when you go to the scrap yard and get your receipt, you can double-check that you are getting the correct cost of the different materials.

Suggested Reading: 8 Tips To Avoid Scrap Yard Receipt Mistakes

No matter what materials you usually deal with, it is always good to have some tricks up your sleeves when scrapping. At the end of the day, most people want to make more money on their scrap, so be sure to try some of the tricks we suggest and see if they work for you. You can also share some of your own tips and tricks with other scrappers on our iScrap Scrap Metal Facebook Group. Be safe and make some money! Happy Scrapping!