Instructables
Picture of Gold Recovery
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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Poppy Ann5 months 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.

You can usually get Muriatic Acid at pool supply places in Canada (if you live in a large city, that is) fairly easily (most at 30-32%). In the UK, Muriatic Acid is sold as 'Spirits of Salt' as a domestic cleaning product (usually at percentages that the US calls industrial grades, 32 - 38%) which you will want to be exremely careful with.

dburtuk Poppy Ann4 months ago
Hi Poppy Ann, Muriatic acid is Hydrochloric Acid, Its available from Amazon in the UK at the 30% mark....

Dburtuk
Josehf Murchison (author)  Poppy Ann5 months 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
Wow, here in the US, We use it as driveway cleaner... lol
Josehf Murchison (author)  tstubblefield15 months ago
Here in Canada the Muriatic acid isn't bad try buying fertilizer I sharecropped urea is a fertilizer.
yes each country has its own idea what their people can have and not have, its about time the world was all the same.
Josehf Murchison (author)  Poppy Ann5 months ago
It is environmentalists and terrorists.
batman965 months ago
I was really intrigued by your article here. Something I have never thought of before.
I have an foot locker over flowing with circuit boards, the box is like 2*2*4 ft. Some computer mother boards a few processors, but mostly audio amplifiers, and a few dvd players. How much do you think could be obtained from this supply? I just keep them around and desolder parts as I need them.
Josehf Murchison (author)  batman965 months ago
I do the same thing I strip the parts I want, expensive audio and video can have more gold video games like X Box are loaded the circuit in the intro pic is a tower audio card and it is covered in gold. Most of it will only be 9K plate but it is still gold, if you have a couple hundred pounds of circuit boards you can have an OZ or more.

I had a transmitter from 1940 it had 2 lb of silver in the tuner and a old industrial video recorder from a TV station it had an OZ of gold in the video head alone ICs have gold in them also.
astrong05 months 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)  astrong05 months ago
All of them including 1940s and 2000s
Tom Hargrave5 months ago
So, what happens to the other metals you burn off?
Josehf Murchison (author)  Tom Hargrave5 months ago
Some oxidizes and turns to ash and some the higher temperature metals turn to slag, this slag is high in copper so I sell it with my scrap copper. There is a market for everything if you look.
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TREX ZoaR0K5 months ago
about how much money worth of gold would i get from 1 laptop and 2 old desktop computers
Josehf Murchison (author)  TREX ZoaR0K5 months ago
That is really dependent on what is in them and the gold market extra cards and maker and where it was made you can have any where from $20.00 to $200.00.
Some of the gold will be 9K and some will be 18K but none will be 24K unless you get prototypes.
info_kill5 months ago
Nice Instructable! I see in your profile that you are a photographer. Do you know of any process to extract Platinum / Palladium from scrap electronics? I have heard that these can be had from MMCs but I'm not quite sure how. My interest is purely for my own printing experiments as a hobbyist photog.
Josehf Murchison (author)  info_kill5 months ago
Wish I did all I get is silver and gold, you should see the stalks on them.
bsimon25 months 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
Josehf Murchison (author)  bsimon25 months 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)  bsimon25 months 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,
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)  bsimon25 months 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.
stoobers bsimon25 months ago
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)  stoobers5 months 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)  stoobers5 months 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)  stoobers5 months 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.
Firefa1112 days ago

Would a higher percent hydrogen peroxide have any effect?

Josehf Murchison (author)  Firefa1112 days ago

Yes if it is high enough it can blow up and kill you.

dkirkland328 days ago
Hi there I hope your still on here since the post was a few months back. I work at an electronic recycling company and can get my hands on any and all kinds of electronics. I feel the circuit boards is the easiest way to get gold. I get them by the thousands and a few times a month get brand new unopened ones that big time company's send us for all different reasons to be recycled. My question to you is if I up the quantity do I need to let it sit longer than a week? I'm talking doing a batch of maybe 2-3 thousand small boards. Also does moisture from outside mess with the process. Not rain but just your daily morning dew. Also I am finding it extremely hard to find methyl hydrate in Southern California. I'm about 40 min outside Los Angeles. Also once the borax step is completed is that gold pure enough to sell to a "we buy gold" place or does it have other materials mixed in it as well? Any and all advice would be greatly appreciated. Also if email is easier you can reach me at daniel.kirkland92@gmail.com
Josehf Murchison (author)  dkirkland328 days ago

Yes I am still here I just won Best Educational Instructable in the 123D Circuits
contest for Reverse Engineering.

Cold and moisture can slow down the process morning dew should not be a problem as long as your work is covered.

Other gold plated materials will work with this process.

Plastics can interfere with the chemicals getting to the metal.

I do small quantities and this process is for small quantities for larger amounts in the tones I would recommend sending them to a smelter, large amounts is a big endeavor and when I had large amounts of circuit boards I took them to a smelter.

A smelter will separate all the metals copper, led, tin, aluminum, silver gold, and others, then pay you for them, about $2,000 to $4,000 a ton depending on the market. You can pay a smelter to separate the metals for you and then take the ingots home.


The quality of the gold varies from circuit board to circuit board, cupellation can get the gold up to 95% pure gold.

I think you will find getting the chemicals very hard in California just as I do here
in Ontario Canada.

Joe

I would smelt but I want to keep cost down. I'm in no hurry and don't mind the little bit of work. Maybe the next batch I will cut the boards somehow and lower the board content in the mix. I started my first batch today and seconds after submersion gold flakes appeared. I also found another insrcuctable on here to further process the gold and basically melt off the other metals, turn the gold into liquid gold then back into gold making it 99.9% gold. Is this process worth the extra time and small money? Like I said I'm doing this to just make some extra cash a few times a month. Also do you know if canada will ship methyl to the US? And if not is there another easier product to get ahold of that I can use instead?
dkirkland328 days ago
Also would having small plastic parts on the circuit boards effect the process? Like I said I get these and truck loads of other electronics a month and I'm not looking to have to do much to the boards. Also does the process only work for circuit boards or can I place other gold played material in the acid solution?
johnny1081 month ago

Have you ever visited

http://goldrefiningforum.com

They might be of interest to you.

Josehf Murchison (author)  johnny1081 month ago

Yes, I am not fond of forums.

They are hard to find the information you want.

johnny1081 month ago

Would sulfuric acid at 30% (car battery acid) work in place of the hydrochloric acid?

Josehf Murchison (author)  johnny1081 month ago

I haven't tried sulfuric acid and I wont be able to do more work on my gold until spring, the snow to my work shop is 5 feet deep.

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