Scrap Metals Worth Salvaging From Computers

Old laptops, damaged desktops, and many other types of computers are full of metals and other materials that could fetch a nice price with a scrap metal buyer. Depending on the amount of metal and the day's recycling rate--or a private arrangement between you and the buyer--you could look forward to paying for your effort and then some. If you have a few computers that need to be tossed out, or have a decent supply of old systems to scrap, here are a few recycling points inside computers to make organization and workflow more efficient.

Aluminum Scrapping For Computers

Aluminum is usually the first materially that you'll encounter when scrapping computers. The case, although often covered in plastic or other materials for aesthetic purposes, is usually an aluminum framework covered with aluminum panels.

The panels and cover are secured with screws or some sort of easy entry button to allow easy maintenance and upgrading capabilities, which makes it easy to scrap the rest of the computer. If you don't have room to stack computer cases and would rather dismantle the framework for smaller pieces, more screws, rivets, or sliding tabs are necessary obstacles.

Every computer (and many other electrical devices) has a heat sink. Heat sinks are usually mass produced aluminum blocks with metal fins that allow heat to travel upwards while being cooled as air passes through the fins. This cooling is usually aided by a fan or water cooling block.

With computers specifically, the fins are usually cut to an almost razor-thin sharpness. Dragging your fingers across the heat sink can leave a bit more than a paper cut, so be careful when removing the component. Consider wearing work gloves, especially since the heat sinks are often cemented on by thermal transfer paste that solidifies well because of the high temperatures being transferred.

Copper Inside Computers

Copper is becoming a more common heat sink material. Once limited to custom computers--especially in the computer gaming world--copper heat sinks have begun to appear in newer computers because of the great efforts in recycling and increases in recycling technology. Yes, that translates to a lower price for the scrapper, but it's still worth more than aluminum--and still worth your time.

Another good source of copper is the power supply. The inside of the power supply has a core of proprietary metals fused to make a block, but this block is usually wrapped with copper coils. Although there are copper wires in multiple areas of the computer, the core and its copper coiling is usually a much bigger supply. Of course, there's nothing wrong with getting it all!

Contact a team of scrap metal buyers to discuss what you have on hand to recycle, as well as other metals, materials, and components that you could salvage for a potential buyer. for more information, contact websites like

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