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Wait don’t throw those old electronics in the garbage, there’s gold in them there things. How about putting it in your pockets instead of someone else’s pocket?

Laptops, phones, cameras, and the like are filled with gold plated circuit boards even printers and scanners have gold, silver, and copper, even platinum in them.

Gold is a precious, conductive, and pliable metal that retains a stable value better than many commodities. Its chemical properties make it useful for the manufacture of computers parts and electronics. Some people find it profitable to attempt to extract the gold from these scraps, then refine and sell it. This complicated process requires chemical expertise as well as access to various chemistry equipment. However, with the right knowledge, experience and tools, you can remove valuable gold from computer parts, other discarded electronics.

Things You Will Need:

Scrap electronics
Rubber gloves
Rubber apron
Goggles
Hydrogen Peroxide 3% I got from local pharmacy.
Muriatic acid 31% local hardware store.
Methyl Hydrate is 99.9% methyl alcohol it is used for fuel line antifreeze and can be purchased at your local hardware or automotive supply.
Funnel filter I used a drip coffee filter
2 large glass containers I like coffee pots for chemical heat.
Stir stick glass or plastic
Weigh scale mine is accurate to 1/10th of a grain.
Blow Torch hot enough to hard solder.
Borax
Clay bowls just about anything that has a melting point 500o above the melting point of gold will do.
Measuring cup anything you can use to make a 2:1 mix will do.


Although no special skills are needed one should follow all chemical and heat safety procedures.
 
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astrong01 year ago
so I have a quick question. what date would you say most of those electronics were from? 70's 80's 90's?
-thanks
Josehf Murchison (author)  astrong01 year ago
All of them including 1940s and 2000s
Your tutorial is AWESOME Boss! question... So common household borax (typically found in cleaner isle at grocery store) lowers Melting point of gold right? Now if I were doing this process over the stove with crushed rock with gold in it, what supplies would I need and the process? I believe I saw muriatic acid and hydrogen peroxide.

An ordinary kitchen stove is not hot enough to melt gold.

Crush up the ore and pan it to separate the gold.

Then melt it with the borax in a crucible this will not separate the silver.

Back on the BORAX subject.... HELP!!!! OK I HAVE BEEN TINKERING WITH THIS FOR A WHILE ..TWO YEARS OR SO AGO I TRIED THE BORRAX.ONLY AFTER TAKING MY FIRST NUGGET TO BUYER WITH MACHINE THAT TELLS HIM EXACTLY WHAT AND HOW MUCH OF EVERYTHING IN IT.. I HAD AROUND 2 GRAMS ... BUT HE LOOKED AT ME WITH A BLANK BUT PUZZLED LOOK. And asked me "HOW DID YOU GET IRON IN THIS?" I WAS STILL NEW TO IT ALL I HAD NO CLUE. THEN HE ASKED WHAT I MELTED IT IN... A SmallCAST IRON SKILLET. IFi had not used that it would have been the purest he had come in..BUT MY REAL QUESTION IS... IF YOU PUT TOO MUCH BORAX WITH VERY LITTLE GOLD I KNOW I CANT GET IT TO FIND EACH OTHER SO I WANT TO BREAK IT BACK DOWN.., CAN I? CAN I PUT IT MY MIXED ALREADY HEATED BUT MOST NOT HEATED TO MELTING POINT BO4AX AND GOLD BE PUT IN MURIATIC ACID AND IT BREAK DOWN THE BORAX? IF NOT WHAY DOES.? I HAVE ALREDY TRIED stiring it all in HOT WATER no work. Boiling it i. Water.. no work.. PLEASE HELP.
CamH3 KathyM117 days ago

Iron is much more reactive than gold and shouldn't be difficult to remove. If you let your iron/gold pellet sit for a while in muriatic acid (aqueous hydrogen chloride) then the iron will dissolve as iron chloride leaving (mostly) just the gold. You can then burn off any slag and re-melt the gold in a clay vessel.

Josehf Murchison (author)  KathyM112 months ago

the borax should be on the outside of the gold and flake off when the gold is cool.

Melt your gold in clay crucible or some other crucible, if you melt it in something metallic it will pick up the metal.

it would require tonnes of ore to produce an ounce of gold/silver/copper. Unless you've got heavy equipment, a great ore claim and really deep pockets this is the hard way..

MattG27 legamin22 days ago

Not at all true. There are still large amounts of natural gold deposits in the Western US and Australia. I'm sure that Russia has large, natural deposits too, but are trying to keep them hidden from the public eye.

I live in Northern California (the 'real' Northern Cali, not the Bay Area, which is geographically centralized along the coastline of the state) and before they shut the rivers down to dredging, there were people who ran dredges that lived off the gold they mined. The same thing happens in Alaska and can be done by someone wandering the Australian Outback with a metal detector and a little knowledge of geology and geography.

Gold isn't as rare as the market makes it out to be. The reason you see what you're describing is done because it's the cheapest way for large companies to extract gold from the ground. Having worked for years in the field, I can tell you that itt's the exploration end of things that is expensive. Often time, we're flying in the dark, just following loose hunches of the mine engineers, mine planners and geos.

My mothers friend had a little gas powered dredge.

so about how much did just the PCB's and gold fingers make, and was the stuff shown in the pictures all you had? cause I have like 4times the amount of PCB's and gold fingers then that as well as processors so just wondering (and all the PCB's have all the traces gold plated) like this one:

like this one

IMG_0852.JPG
Josehf Murchison (author)  sleblanc21 year ago

The one pot produced about 4 grams but I have about 500 pounds of circuit boards and other components to process.

I just dissembled a radar unit from WWII that had about a pound of silver and gold in it, older electronics have higher quantities of gold and silver.

007.JPG

I hope you ran that by a collector first, it may have been worth more as a great example of early radar.

Please always check the electronics is actually scrap and not worth the same entact to someone who collects.

3dcats andysuth2 months ago

Exactly what I was thinking! Imagine if you desecrated one of the last remaining electronics from WW1 for £11.06 worth of reclaimed gold scrap when it was worth £800 to a Memorabilia Collector or shouldve been donated (or sold) intact to a War Museum.. This is why Archeologists have little/no hair except on their chins lol! Its the stress of thinking a Youtube expert detectorist will put a spade through a 4,000yr old potentially unique + fragile object. There's a reasonable argument for recycling all precious metals, but also a good reason to NEVER destroy vintage/antique electronics when our streets get littered with free modern scrap every single day.

Josehf Murchison (author)  3dcats2 months ago

If I get something interesting I donate it to the Royal Canadian Legion Museum. In the past I have given them an CAF Astrograph, a WWI Coey 22 trainer, and survey equipment. I get a lot of these things for next to nothing and take the tax break.

Josehf Murchison (author)  andysuth12 months ago

Key part missing.

Reflectometer circuit.

Got one big load of silver and gold out of it as well as a 12 volt to 50,000 volt flyback.

Joe

a lb of gold! Wow. I wish I hadn't thrown out all my electronics over the years, but I have to say, the steps and process make it sound easy, but what do you do with large boards like modern motherboards and those? Brake them up into smaller pieces?

KathyM11 Overcon2 months ago
I have so much i am hoarding them as well as one of you out here. There are refineries and or scrap yards that do buy them and some of them are decent prices but until i know exactly what is in them... NO WAY!! THERE IS WAY MORE PRECIOUSE METAL IN THEM THAN ANYONE WILL ADMIT BUT U MUST HAVE ALOT OF THEM AND ALOT OF TIME AND PATIENTS FOR YOURSELF.. AND PROTECTION FOR YOURSELF AND THE EARTH AS WELL AS OTHER FOLKS TOO.
�L Overcon2 months ago

I'm hoarding them, so I need to know what needs to be kept....

I wish i could run accross some sc4ap that old for sure.. anything i have not scrapped befor I ABSOLUTELY LOVE TO TEAR APART.
bsimon21 year ago
this is cool i have piles of electronics just sitting around and this process would be a lot easier than trying to make use of them....i would like to know the process for the gold plated material as well as a way to separate the silver from the gold if at all possible
Put all the copper plated gold in a pile, then melt it into a puck. Wait for the copper price to rise, then sell the copper puck. Forget the gold, the concentration on plated objects is super low, and copper is a valuable metal in its own right.
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers1 year ago
You don't loose the copper it is the slag.
Is it copper nitrate or some other copper salt? If so, wouldn't they have to reduce it to get it back to metallic copper?
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers1 year ago
The slag or the acid residue?
Thanks in advance for asking these questions.
Regarding slag or acid residue containing a copper salt: are they both (or either) copper salts?
Josehf Murchison (author)  stoobers1 year ago
The slag I am going to cash in as #3 copper.

I am trying to find that out now about the acid residue I am thinking about making conductive paint with it.

if I can separate the copper moliquels it should make good paint.
Hello and God Bless... I put a STAINLESS STEAL BUTTER KNIFE IN MY USED ACID OVER NIGHT AND ALOT OF THE COPPER WILL BE ATTACHED TO THE KNIFE. I DONT KNOW WHAT PERCENTAGE BUT YOU CAN SEE THE DIFFERENCE WHEN U SEE IT FROM A DISTANCE THE NEXT DAY. I ALWAYS DO THAT BEFOR REUSING MY ACID ON MY LEFT OVERS LATER. I HOPE THIS HELPS
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon21 year ago
To separate the gold from the silver you need to use these methods.
There is the nitric acid process.
The sulfuric acid process.
Reverse electrolysis process.
All of these take a hotter torch than I have and these three methods use chemicals due to 9/11 many of these chemicals are highly regulated because they are also used to make explosives.
The Muriatic acid process which I used.
And there is cupellation process which I used.
i have been watching several youtube videos and have noticed several differant solutions one of which disolves the gold into the solution its self, i think the chemicals were Muratic acid 31.5%, house hold bleach, sodiummetabisolphate

would this outcome be any different than yours with your given solution?

here is one of the videos i have seen and is using a different solution than you are.
http://youtu.be/SJN9LW1kJWI
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon21 year ago
I like that one tells you how to separate the gold doesn't tell you how to get the gold out of the solution.

Add vitamin C ascorbic acid,

Perhaps if you have gold in solution you can use electroplating to revive another item, eg jewellery or to gold plate your mobile phone case...?

Josehf Murchison (author)  3dcats2 months ago

I use etchant to salvage gold it dissolves the copper and leaves the gold behind.

I tried that to remove the copper from the etchant so I could reuse the etchant, didn't work. but there is an acid mix that will work on.

This Instructable mentions it,

http://www.instructables.com/id/Make-10-Etchants-for-Copper-Printed-Circuit-Boards/

it tells you in the next video i believe ( i watched about 4 of his videos) to add something and it makes the gold materialize and form in flakes at the bottom.

my question being about that video in particular is does it extract the gold in a more pure form than the method you have shown here with out the silver being mix'd in?

the idea behind this question being a more pure extraction process and then perhaps repeat your process for silver extraction?

here is the video he shows how to get the gold from the solution:
http://youtu.be/H1VHJCLfxS4
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon21 year ago
what they don't tell you is with solid pieces you do what I did then spatter the gold in water. then follow that process.
Poppy Ann1 year ago
A great instructable, here in the UK trying to just get Muriatic acid is almost impossible unlike the USA where you can get it from just about any hardware store.

many thanks for putting this instructable together.
Josehf Murchison (author)  Poppy Ann1 year ago
Here in Canada it isn't that easy ether, some things require you to pass a university course in order to get the licence so you can buy the chemicals.

Because of my work I have 5

Maybe you live in the Far North, because I live in Canada and any hardware store sells muriatic acid, including Canadian Tire .

Josehf Murchison (author)  RuthS12 months ago

Please accept my apologies for taking so long to reply to your comments on my Instructable Gold Recovery.

For some reason I am not receiving notices of comments from Instructables some glitch I guess.

Muriatic acid is not hard to get it is other products with other uses.

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