Upscaling is the sorting and "purefying" if you will of your scrap metal to obtain a better product and hence increase it's dollar value.

I will go through the various metals on this page and provide methods for maximising the profitability of your scrap metal.

And a HUGE thank you to PR Transport, located in Geelong, for some of the tips provided.

(This list is not exhaustive, so any additions or errors, please comment - Thank you.



Upscaling Copper


  Copper is usually sorted in the following categories:

  • Bright copper
  • Burnt copper
  • Low and high grade insulated wire
  • Bright copper wire
  • Irony Copper

Bright copper is copper pipe or pure copper metal that does not have imputies such as solder / brass / ferrous metal etc.

Burnt copper is classified as copper with solder, or wire with the insulation burned off, brass fittings etc.

Bright copper has a higher value than burnt, so the trick is to cut up any copper scrap you have at least 10mm (1/2 inch) from any joints/soldering to maximise the clean copper from the burnt.

Also of note is the condenser units on refridgeration equipment, (the bulge bits in copper lines) these have filters and ferrous metal within, so cutting them open is a better way of maximising bright copper.

Upscaling Copper Wire

Separating High and low grade copper wire is easiest if you look at conductor size.  Really large copper conductors however should have the insulation stripped off to make Bright copper wire.

The easiest way to strip the insulation off is to cut the wire into manageable lengths and run a blade down the length of the wire, than peel the insulation off.  This gives a much more valuable product than leaving the insulation on.

Try to maximise bright copper for the best $$ returns.


Upscaling brass


Brass is usually sorted in the following categories:

  • Bright Brass
  • Burnt Brass
  • Irony Brass

As with Copper, the idea is to make more Bright brass by removing metal / plastics etc from the scrap.  Taps should have plastic handles removed and preferably be pulled apart to remove valves. 

Separating Bright from Burnt / irony makes for a better $$ return on your scrap.

Upscaling bronze


Like Brass, Bronze is sorted int the following categories:

  • Bright Bronze
  • Burnt Bronze
  • Irony Bronze

Again as per copper, remove any metallic pits and pull apart taps and valves.  Pressure relief valves in hot water services are typically Bronze, and these can be easily cut apart to make bright bronze (otherwise they go in as irony).

Upscaling Aluminium


Aluminium Comes in varied types, mainly:

  • Extruded Aluminium
  • Domestic Aluminium
  • Aluminium cans
  • Cast Aluminium
  • Mag Wheels
  • Irony Aluminium

Extruded aluminium (example metal from door and window frames) is best separated and all screws. plastic and rubber removed,  If this can be bundled in shorter lengths you scrap dealer will usually provide a higher price.

Domestic aluminium is things like sheet aluminium or pots and pans. Take the time to remove handles and screws from this type of scrap to increase it's value.

Cast aluminium should be separated from irony aluminium to increase it's value as scrap.  By removing all metals / studs etc makes it higher value.  Engine heads usually cannot be made pure cast due to the valve seats and welsh plugs, however mower chassis are ideal for upscaling as they are quick to clean for a pure cast. Pure cast has a higher return than irony aluminium so it is worth upscaling.

Mag Wheels should have the Metal inserts for the studs knocked out, this can easily be done with a hammer and punch.  Removing the valve is also a good idea.


Upscaling Copper Radiators

The copper radiators from Vehicles usually have a Ferrous Metal surround / mounting brackets and possilby plastic surrounds.

The metal Surround is usually soldered onto the Brass endcaps, and this can easily be cut off, or a better approach is to use a blow torch to quickly melt the solder and remove the brackets.

Also make sure the hoses / hose clamps are removed


Upscaling Copper / Aluminium Radiators

These types of radiators or heat exchangers usually have ferrous metal end plates.  (Check with a magnet first as some are aluminium, this saves a lot of work).

As the copper pipes are looped through the steel endplates, the quickest wat to upscale these is to run an anglegrinder down the inside of the metal endplate. 

This also value adds as the copper remaining in the endplate can easily be removed with a screwdriver etc to give burnt or bright copper scrap.

This is the best way to maximise the $$ value of copper / aluminium radiators.

Upscaling Ferrous Scrap


There are many types of Ferrous scrap, a basic list includes:

  • Cast Iron
  • HMS
  • Pressing steel
  • black iron
  • car bodies

Black Iron is typically white goods, or metal products with plastics / fabrics and other impuities.

Cast iron is things like engine blocks and casings / brake drums

HMS, is structural steel or railway iron- thick and heavy.

Pressing steel is typically clean car panels or clean computer / equipment cases.

If you have the time and space, separating this kind of scrap will also greatly increase it's value.

Gas cylinders are a separate problem, as these usually will require the Tap to be removed (usually brass) and holes punched ito the cylinders to prevent explosion during the scrap metal shredding processes employed on ferrous metal recovery sites like Sims metal or Sell&Parker here in Australia. 








"If you want success, then don't rely on other people

to do what YOU can do!"  - Sasha Azevedo




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