Update May 2009: The good news is that the theft of copper, platinum and other metals has waned as the scrap value plummeted. The bad news, of course, is that if you're sitting on a pile of scrap, its value has tanked as well. Not all is dire, however; China is finally beginning to restock, so the price should be turning in your favor soon.
So you need to scrounge up enough dinero to fill up your gas tank for your summer road trip to the beach but you sucked the couch dry of change just getting to work last week. What are you going to do?
Well, one way you can get some quick cash is to sell scrap metal to your local salvage yard or recycling center. My co-worker bought a used camper for just over $600 and took his old one to get scrapped. He was surprised to find out the scrap value of his camper almost paid for his new camper purchase! And while prices have dropped considerably since, then, it's still a market worth considering.
While this method isn't something you'll likely be able to survive upon for extended periods, legally anyway, I'm sure you can find something to get melted down.
We want to focus on the legal ways to get some money from scrap metal so first we need to find some. If you are remodeling or have unused copper pipes in your house it may be worth pulling them out and heading to the salvage yard. If pipes are out of reach, check out your garage, basement or shed, where I am guessing you can find something to salvage. This endeavor may be especially profitable if you have been something of a packrat in this metal treasure trove of yours.