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Nickel phonograph matrix masters: Scrap value is low, what to do with them

Q. Hello all you helpful people.
We produce quite a number of nickel masters for the production of vinyl records.
The days of making fathers mothers and stampers are well past as the quantities required today are quite small about 500 7" or 12" records are our maximum orders.
Therefore we stamp records from the nickel master which we produce in house in a sulfamate bath six at a time.
Here is the issue that maybe someone has an answer to?
We do about 5-6 jobs a week so about as many masters are made in our baths; after the job is done the nickel master is just about at the end of its useful life.
We do keep the ones that have done only about 200-300 pressings but are reluctant to keep ones that have done 500 or more due to the loss of sound quality from the plates, they are only good for about 800 pressings at best so they get near to the end of their useful life.
We are quite annoyed at the prices scrap metal dealers are offering for the metal since as we all know it is a very expensive metal to buy.
What can we do with them? Can we add them back in the baths? Is there a particular way that this can be done? By the way we use S rounds.
Any suggestions on the matter would be appreciated.
thumbs up sign By the way I have had the most useful help just by reading through the posts on this site any time we had an issue with our baths
My most deeply felt thanks to all of you here!

Christopher Moss
plater - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
March 30, 2008

A. Hi Christopher,

I think you have in Australia some recycling companies which takes this metal back and gives you a refund/kg. Otherwise also talk to your provider, might he takes them back and give you a refund when you are buying anodes? But I would not suggest to re-use them for your process.


Dominik Michalek
- Mexico City, Mexico
April 1, 2008

A. I have a client who is in your business in Nashville, TN. They sell the "surplus" masters to local nickel plating shops who use them in the baskets along with their other nickel anodes. They have been doing this for years and none of the other platers has a problem since they also use sulfur bearing anodes. The price they get is usually about 80% of the current price for nickel S or R rounds.

This is just one company's solution, but I thought it might help.

Gene Packman
process supplier - Great Neck, New York
April 2, 2008

A. Unfortunately, scrap markets operate very much like car markets. You just take a new car out of the dealer and 20% of its price is gone. A couple of years later when you "know" it still is worth a good bunch of thousands, the same dealer that sold it to you, apologizing offers you but pennies. Find the best price for your nickel scrap and sell it. Otherwise go on knocking doors on foundries that specialize in the casting of stainless steels. They may offer you a better deal.

Guillermo Marrufo
Monterrey, NL, Mexico
April 3, 2008

April 4, 2008

A. Hi Christopher,
You're not likely to get any joy trying to sell the scrap to foundries. The hassles involved in controlling its use to very low proportions so that the sulfur contamination of the steel is kept to an acceptably low level, would mean you could only sell for the pennies that Guillermo refers to, rather than any dollars. Foundries generally have no use for the sulfur-bearing grades of nickel. Electroplating shops would be your best bet.

Bill Reynolds
Bill Reynolds [deceased]
consultant metallurgist - Ballarat, Victoria, Australia
We sadly relate the news that Bill passed away on Jan. 29, 2010.

A. Have one of your employees sell them as art objects on EBay and split the money gained as long as it is above the scrap metal price.
Contact the art department of the local colleges to see if they do any nickel casting.

James Watts
- Navarre, Florida
April 4, 2008

April 8, 2008

thumbs up sign Well Thank You all
Quite a few answers and suggestions which I will follow up. No doubt the one suggesting the plating shops is very good. The eBay thing is something we have contemplated
We do supply a framing guy with masters which are given out to artists by the music house that has signed them up, when their record made it Gold or Platinum but it takes about a day to do two or three of them and there is not that many platinum or gold records (pity).
They have to be trimmed as well as polished and the edges made smooth But it is certainly a worthwhile suggestion.
Once again thanks to you all

Christopher Moss [returning]
- Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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