How Much Copper is in an Old Stick Welder? A Comprehensive Guide

The amount of copper in an old stick welder can vary significantly depending on the make, model, and age of the welder. However, by analyzing the available data and expert insights, we can provide a comprehensive guide on the copper content in these vintage welding machines.

Estimating Copper Content in Transformers and Cables

One of the primary sources of copper in an old stick welder is the transformers and cables. According to user reports, a Lincoln AC225 welder can contain around 100 pounds of copper in its transformers and cables. Another user who disassembled an antique welder found that the copper windings from two transformers weighed 65 pounds, while the stripped and longer cables weighed 11 pounds and 27 pounds, respectively.

The amount of copper in the leads or cables can also be substantial. One user estimated that there are approximately 50 feet of leads, with most of it being thinner #4 (4 AWG) and about 15 feet of #1 (1 AWG) on the stinger end. The copper content in these leads would depend on the gauge and length of the wire, but it can be a significant contributor to the overall copper content.

Factors Affecting Copper Content

how much copper is there in a old stick welderImage source: Manual Metal Arc welding (MMAW)

The copper content in an old stick welder can also be influenced by the presence of aluminum windings. Some newer welders may have aluminum windings instead of copper, which would reduce the scrap value of the welder.

Additionally, the age and model of the welder can play a role in the copper content. Older models may have more copper-intensive components, while newer ones may use more cost-effective materials.

Disassembly and Copper Recovery

When it comes to disassembling an old stick welder to recover the copper, it’s essential to follow proper safety protocols. Wear appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, goggles, and a respirator, to avoid exposure to potential hazards.

Step 1: Disconnect the Welder

Begin by disconnecting the welder from the power source and ensuring that it is completely de-energized. This step is crucial for your safety.

Step 2: Remove the Outer Casing

Carefully remove the outer casing of the welder to gain access to the internal components. Be mindful of any sharp edges or fragile parts during this process.

Step 3: Identify Copper Components

Locate the transformers, cables, and any other copper-containing parts within the welder. These are the primary sources of copper that you’ll want to extract.

Step 4: Disassemble and Extract Copper

Carefully disassemble the identified copper components, taking note of their weight and condition. Use appropriate tools, such as pliers, wrenches, and cutters, to remove the copper windings, cables, and other copper parts.

Step 5: Clean and Sort the Copper

Once the copper components have been extracted, clean them thoroughly to remove any dirt, oil, or other contaminants. Sort the copper by type (e.g., pure copper, copper alloy) and prepare it for recycling or sale.

Conclusion

Old stick welders can be a valuable source of copper, with the transformers and cables being the primary contributors to the overall copper content. By understanding the factors that affect copper content and following proper disassembly and extraction procedures, you can effectively recover the copper from these vintage welding machines.

Remember to always prioritize safety and follow local regulations when handling and disposing of any hazardous materials.

References

  1. How Much Copper is in an Old Welder?
  2. Lincoln AC225 Copper Weight
  3. Antique Welder Copper Recovery
  4. Copper Content in Old Welders