View Full Version : What to do with swarf?

11-05-2009, 11:22 PM
I have a whole bunch of swarf from 17-4 SS and 1018 HRS in my home shop. What do I do with all the swarf? I hate to just throw it out in the garbage. What do people do with their swarf?

- T

11-05-2009, 11:32 PM
I throw mine in the recycle (curbside) container....

11-05-2009, 11:40 PM
You could send it all to me...

I want to stuff it up some arses over at the Labor and Industries workmans comp office.

11-05-2009, 11:48 PM
I put it in the trash, it has no value.

11-06-2009, 12:00 AM
I put it in the trash, it has no value.

Amen, its not worth anything.

11-06-2009, 12:08 AM
Well.. it does... it's "scrap" and if you have enough, it's worth selling. Sure, a HSM doesn't make enough to make it worthwhile, but CNC shops sell a lot of chips...

11-06-2009, 12:14 AM
You could mix up some epoxy, darken it a bit with some powdered graphite, then cast it into a cube shape with your swarf. Make your own borg cube.

Jim Shaper
11-06-2009, 12:22 AM
I save my AL and sell it with the cans. Steel goes in the trash (and I don't discriminate too much if there's AL in with it).

If your chips are small enough, you could try making some thermite. :cool:

11-06-2009, 12:32 AM
Aluminum is not worth anything around here, I throw my beer cans in the trash now for the last year. it keeps my place clean and nice.

11-06-2009, 12:46 AM
If you like your sanitation engineer put it out in small batches if you hate him save it and put it out in large amounts. I do mine 2 times per week.

Jim Shaper
11-06-2009, 12:56 AM
Cans are hovering around 60 cents a pound, swarf and chips are about 40.

I've been bagging them and putting them out by the fence (privacy fence) in the back of the shop where we can't see it from the house. It's right next to my regular crap pile of illegal exterior storage that no one can see from outside the yard.

One of these days I'll make another material run to the steel yard and haul all the bags in (scrap outfit is across the street). I wouldn't do it once a week, or even once a month, but if I go quarterly or less, the payout is at least a decent meal with the mrs. They're also only 5 miles away.

11-06-2009, 01:42 AM
My nuisance value scrap (includes swarf) goes to the scrappy whenever I am passing; it is logged against my very informal and loosely audited:D credit ledger. This satisfies my environmental concerns. -- Any larger stuff is weighed and paid for. This satisfies my wallet.:)

11-06-2009, 04:24 AM
I've been saving mine. No idea what to do with it.


John Stevenson
11-06-2009, 04:30 AM
Nice one Evan, that made me smile :)


11-06-2009, 08:40 AM
I've got these nifty things from the USPS called priority mail boxes. I stuff it in to those then toss it into the garbage. I used to put it in garbage bags, but then had one rip open on me. The priority mail boxes are much more effective at getting it to the curb without making a mess.

These are of course used boxes, nobody would even think of taking advantage of our wonderful government handouts that we pay through the teeth for.

J Tiers
11-06-2009, 09:01 AM
I have heard that the scrap joints don't WANT the finer grades of swarf, as it is "worthless" for remelt, burning off before it melts. They don't get much if anything for it, if it even is still present when they haul (may rust into oblivion first). And, under certain conditions it's a fire hazard.

Would there be any advantage to compressing it into "pucks"? My understanding is that makes it much more acceptable.

I have a barrel of steel scrap (mostly swarf) that will soon be too darn heavy to move. But I have the ability to compress it into "pucks" of reasonably solid stuff.

11-06-2009, 09:24 AM
Start your own foundry and remelt into ingots for future workpeices. :P

Lew Hartswick
11-06-2009, 09:41 AM
I've been saving mine. No idea what to do with it.

Is that an HO guage layout?

11-06-2009, 10:43 AM
I have a few 5 gal paint buckets that I use to store it in and when they get full I take them to over to a CNC shop guy that I know, he is happy to let me toss them in his scrap bin. Once in a while he even lets me take a few of his drops that are still large enough to put in my material rack.

Alistair Hosie
11-06-2009, 11:25 AM
Wow is that your house Evan nice layout mine is called landslide mansions.Alistair

11-06-2009, 12:21 PM
Any truth to the wives tale that burying steel swarf near the root ball of a spruc will turn the needles blue?

Jack F
11-06-2009, 12:59 PM
I take mine to a nearby metal recycler. He pays me for the alum, brass and copper and lets me dump the steel for free. None of mine goes to the dump. I quite often fine nice chunks of steel, stainless steel and alum to add to my stock pile. One day I even found a "Big" 4 way lathe tool holder (much too big for my 14X40) that I brought home. Can't use it but it was too nice to leave there. Paid 25 cents a pound for it.


11-06-2009, 01:04 PM
Camdigger, I don't know about trees, but hydrangeas will change flower colors

11-06-2009, 01:07 PM
Mine goes to the scrap man. They buy swarf from large shops and they're kind enough to buy my swarf, even in small quantities. It ain't hardly worth the gas to haul it there, but I prefer to think that it is recycled rather than filling up a landfill.

Aluminum swarf is worth a little more. I fill soda cans with aluminum swarf (if they're tiny chips that can be swept into a small can) or wad up the large stringy stuff and take it to the scrappy.

11-06-2009, 03:06 PM
Years ago, at the oceanography shop, we used to save aluminum cans and tote them back to the scrap yard. We got about $0.32/LB for them. We started filling the cans half full of aluminum mill swarf. That worked pretty well until we sent them a bag of lathe turnings (giant bird nest) that bound up their shredder and shut them down for a day while they cleaned all that stringy stuff out of the knives. We were not welcome at the scrap yard after that. :(

11-06-2009, 07:42 PM
When starting a new job I clean out the lathe's chip pan. That way I can segregate the swarf. My recycler welcomes the aluminum, bronze and brass.

I never bother taking the steel there. Instead, I take it to an outfit that specializes in recycling appliances and will dump it into a washing machine or dryer. When they crush them the swarf becomes part of the mix. I do this with all my small steel scrap: nuts, bolts, rusty nails and short ends. It adds up. Generally, when I need to dump it to make room for more, it amounts to several hundred pounds.

Of course, I try to use common sense while recycling. I never drive more than a block or two out of the way to drop off material; otherwise, I'd burn up more value in fuel than what the salvaged stuff is worth.


11-07-2009, 05:37 PM
In my little home shop I don't make enough swarf to amount to anything but the post reminded me of a shop in Edmonton that made brass fittings on four automatics. They filled a 45 gal drum with brass cuttings each week and that scrap was their profit. Mine just goes in the regular household trash that's picked up at the driveway each week. Peter