How To Get Scrap Copper Ready To Be Sold

Posted on: 16 April 2015

Many people are interested in buying scrap copper because it is cheaper than purchasing regular copper or copper wires, helps reduce the amount of waste that goes into landfills, and is usually fairly easy to obtain. As a result, many people entering the scrap metal business will start trying to sell scrap copper first. It's important that the scrap copper is properly cleaned and stripped before you attempt to sell it to anyone because otherwise people will not be willing to pay as much for it. Follow these steps to make sure that your scrap copper is worth as much as possible.

What You'll Need:

  • a strong magnet
  • a vice
  • wire strippers

All of the above can be found at a hardware store.

1. Make Sure You Have the Right Metal

It can be hard to tell dirty metal apart. In order to make sure that you don't accidentally spend time cleaning something worthless, make sure that you check that everything you think is copper truly is copper. To do this, take a strong magnet and move it through your pile of copper methodically. If anything sticks to the magnet, then it is not actually copper because copper is not magnetized and will not be attracted to the magnet. By doing this, you can save yourself a great deal of time and effort.

2. Take Your Vice and Attach it to One End of the Copper Wire

Once you know that you only have copper, grab a piece of wire and attach one end of it to a vice. Make sure that the vice has the proper settings in order to hold the wire tight.

3. Use Your Wire Strippers

Then, take your wire strippers in your dominant hand. Hold the end of the wire that is not attached to the vice in the other. Firmly take your wire strippers and move them along the copper, with the sharper edge on the copper itself. Move the wire stripper down three to four times and then manually check the wire for any rough patches. If you find any, redo these areas and check the wire again. Continue until the wire is perfectly smooth. 

4. Wrap the Wire

Once you're done stripping the wire, wrap the piece into a ball. Make the ball as small as possible in order to make it easier to transfer. Do not put anything in the middle of the ball to hold it together because copper wire is sold by weight, but judged by purity. If you put anything in with the copper, you'll make it heavier but you'll lose money because it will become second-class metal because it isn't pure.

For more information, talk to a scrap metal dealer.