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Thread: Free copper sheet

  1. #1
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    Jul 2009
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    Default Free copper sheet

    Bleeding obvious to many, but I still keep coming across people to whom this is new:

    1. Find a short piece of copper pipe. 22mm is good, but 15mm is OK too. Make sure there is no solder on it; paint is OK, but it will stink to high heaven shortly.
    2. Cut a slit down the length of the piece. A saw gives me the cleanest edges, while shears tend to leave a slightly more jagged edge. If there is any internal ridge to the pipe, try to cut along there.
    3. Anneal the chunk of pipe. Get it up to a nice dull red, then quench in water or air cool as the mood takes you. While this isn't strictly a pipe any more, don't point one end towards you if you do quench it (quenching pipes like this can blast a jet of scalding water and steam).
    4. Pickle it.
    5. Using fingers (for 22mm pipe) or ring pliers, splay the pipe open. Then flatten it on a bench block, anvil or other flat surface.

    You now have a sheet of fairly pure (.999) copper about 0.8 to 0.9mm thick. A 22mm pipe unrolls to about 2 1/2" wide.

    Trivially simple, isn't it?

  2. #2
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    Jul 2009
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    108

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    Hi Peter. good plan I have not bought any copper for the last 15yrs old piping and old water tanks are great someone is always replacing tanks ect all the best myke

  3. #3
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    The older the better on water tanks. The newer ones with blown foam insulation are a pest - I've got one sat around that I still haven't chopped up. I think I'll need to use a paint scraper to get the foam off first, which will either leave some foam on or scar up the surface of the tank. Oh well.

  4. #4
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    Hi Peter with the foam coverd tanks I have found if you take chanel of foam of then leave the weather rain ect to to it,s work for a month then the foam comes off without to much hassle. all the best myke

  5. #5
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    Brilliant idea and something I had not thought of.
    If you are feeling really adventurous you could go for the really big one which will keep you in copper for a couple of years. Go to freecycle and offer something up free before you ask for an old copper hot water tank preferably without a foam covering. I have cut up one of these by hand before now but my last one was such thick copper I had to get help from a local coppersmith. Not so good for jewellery because of the weight but good for beating, enamel pictures etc.
    Paula

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by myke View Post
    Hi Peter with the foam coverd tanks I have found if you take chanel of foam of then leave the weather rain ect to to it,s work for a month then the foam comes off without to much hassle. all the best myke
    So that is enough to loosen it? Excellent, thanks Myke!
    I *really* didn't want to start burning that stuff...

    I tend to use aviation shears when cutting the big stuff up - an angle grinder isn't good because the copper galls so much and grabs the disc - particularly problematic if you're using the very thin "plasma" discs.

  7. #7
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    What a great idea. So if we all start rummaging through skips together, it won't seem so bad?

  8. #8
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    Ha, I already skip rummage for acrylic.....sign makers off cuts! usually free or charity donation
    E

  9. #9
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    I've got so much to learn. I actually PAID for some acrylic recently.

  10. #10
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    LOL, well if you get exactly what you want...skips can be random! worth a rummage tho!
    E

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