Monday, January 23, 2012


Over the last few years I have managed to salvage a few thousand pounds of copper from our local garbage dump/landfill.  Most of this is heavy copper cable that was scrapped when the local power company rewired the main distribution system coming out of our local power plant.  The cable was just dumped with the rest of the trash and left to burn.  I went back after the rubber insulation was burned off and pulled the bare cable out of the rubbish pile.

Scrap copper sells for about $2.00 per pound down in the lower 48.  Unfortunately the normal price to ship something from rural Alaska to the lower 48 is around $1.00 to $2.00 per pound.    At that price I wasn't going to make much money for all the work I put in.  Recently I realized that a USPS large flat rate box only costs $15 to mail anywhere in the U.S. and you can put anything you want in the box as long as it is under 70 lbs.  This puts my shipping cost at just under $0.25 per pound!

Here is a photo of the setup I put together in my shop to cut up the copper cable to fit in the flat rate boxes.  Spending a little bit of time to set this up will let me fill the boxes quickly  and easily. 

 I screwed my abrasive chop saw to a temporary work bench.  Behind the saw installed a dust collector hood made from an old Rubber Maid tub.  The large black hose connected to the tub runs to my shop dust collector system, this catchs most of the dust and smoke from the cutting.  The orange arrow points to a small piece of angle iron that I bolted to the saw to support the cable while it is being cut and prevent the smaller wires from fraying.  The green arrow points to a large piece of angle iron screwed down to the work bench, this is a guide to make sure each peice is cut to just the right length to fit in the box.  On the handle of the saw you can see the spring clamp that I use to hold the trigger down on the saw.  Leaving the saw running all the time saves a little bit of time on each cut and avoids all those high amperage starts on the motor.

1 comment:

  1. What kind of saw and blade are you using? Does the setup cut very fast?