Introduction: Gold Recovery Correctly

Picture of Gold Recovery Correctly

I will detail a SAFE process of turning old electronic parts into little round lumps of pure gold.  There are many tutorials that claim to offer methods of gold recovery such as "Cupellation"*.  These processes are DANGEROUS and put the user at the risk of inhaling vaporized metals.
No over the counter breather will protect you from these dangers; Only lab grade isolated breathing systems can protect against metal vapors.   ********************************** SEE HEALTH HAZARD ON STEP 6***************************************

**** a Side cautionary note,  This process is not suitable to purify Panned Gold or KARAT (Gold Alloyed with silver.) This Guide is best suited for gold plated or pure gold object.


*Cupellation is a refining process in metallurgy, where ores or alloyed metals are treated under high temperatures and controlled operations to separate noble metals, like gold and silver, from base metals like lead, copper, zinc, arsenic, antimony or bismuth, present in the ore. The process is based on the principle that precious metals do not oxidise or react chemically, unlike the base metals; so when they are heated at high temperatures, the precious metals remain apart and the others react forming slags or other compounds

Step 1: SAFETY FIRST, Always.

Picture of SAFETY FIRST, Always.

In this instructable you will be working with basic house hold chemicals.  By themselves these chemicals can be fairly harmless.  The combination of such chemical which will be presented in this instructable can be EXTREMELY hazardous;  By such there are a couple of safety items which are not Optional.  THE FOLLOW ITEMS ARE REQUIRED.  FAILURE TO OBTAIN THESE ITEMS BEFORE HAND CAN POSSIBLY COMPROMISE YOUR HEALTH.  

Item # 1.

Breathing equipment.  You will need a chemical mask rated AT LEAST as a P100. If you dont know what a P100 rating means It is your responsibility to yourself to find out.

Item # 2
Heavy duty Gloves.  pvc or rubber is fine,  do not use Latex or Nitrile gloves.

Item # 3

Safety Glasses.  Any pair will work as long as It is safety rated and solvent rated.

Step 2: Equipment Needed.

Picture of Equipment Needed.

Helpfull items which can make doing these experiments easier.

1. Borosil glass labware.
2. 2 1/2 gallon bucket.
3. a 1 gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom.  - to be used as a strainer.
4. a 60 ounce pickle Jar
5. Coffee filters
6. Filter holder from a coffee machine.
7. Spray bottle.
8. Mini scale with the ability to measure Grams and Oz.
9. some pipettes and test tube.

Step 3: Chemicals Required.

Picture of Chemicals Required.

I have used a number of chemicals these I have found to be the most widely available.

1 gallon of Clorox Bleach.  or  Sodium hypochlorate at 6%
2. Muriatic Acid  34% HCL ~ Baume.
3. Hydrogen Peroxide  - 3%  but no greater then 5%
4.  Stumpout by Bonide.   or Sodium bisulfate - 99.9% as specified in the Msds  or Sodium Meta Bisulfite.
You cannot substitue with these chemicals trying to do so will no give the required reactions.

Step 4: Selecting Materials to Be Recovered.

Picture of Selecting Materials to Be Recovered.

I was taught by the method of Crap in Crap out.   You want your materials to be as clean as possible with the least Amount of Garbage as possible.

Gold fingers are typically found on PCI cards, ISA cards, or on Memory sims/dimms/etc.  They create the corrosion free connection between the computer and the expansion card. 

This process can also be used to recover gold from CPU such as Pentium Pro, or Cyrix or older 486 and lower generation chips.

Step 5: The First Chemical Bath.

Picture of The First Chemical Bath.

Objective of this first chemical bath is to remove a large majority the base metals, Such as nickle, zinc and copper.

After cleanly removing your plated sections of computer parts.  remove any visible capacitors transistors, or other components.  be sure to also remove any steel or iron parts attached.  These metals can foul the reaction causing poor results.


100 ML beaker, 1 gallon bucket, 2 1/2 gallon bucket. 


Muratic acid, and hydrogen peroxide.
Materials you are looking to recover.

First step, place your 1 gallon stainer bucket, into your 2 1/2 gallon wash bucket.  But first place your parts to be recovered inside your 1 gallon strainer bucket. as pictured.

Add enough muratic acid to cover your fingers about 1 cm above your materials. keep track of how many MLs are added.  you want to keep your waste Acids to a minimum.   second.  To activate the solution you want to add your Hydrogen peroxide 3 - 5% solution  in a 2 to 1 ratio.  two parts muratic acid to one part hydrogen peroxide.

 after the Peroxide has been added to your muratic acid the mixture should start to bubble,  and the base metals should begin to dissolve.  At this point you should be wearing your safety gear because a few unfriendly fumes are being released.

This process can take up to 24 - 48 hours.    this works best at the temperatures of 80 - 90 F.

When this has been completed you will see a batch of gold foils floating in your now dark green acid.

Step 6: Filtering the Gold Foils.

Picture of Filtering the Gold Foils.
Items required
  • coffee filters
  • filter holder
  • 60oz pickle jar. or glass container large enough to contain waste acids.

Simply Poor the contents of the two gallon bucket into the pickle jar using the coffee filters to catch any foils that are floating on the surface of the acid. Once you have pored off all the acid you will be left with a pile similar to what is in the picture.  scoop these from the bucket into another container for future processing.

Congratulation you are about 50% finished. **********   

************************************* HEALTH WARNING ***************************************

Melting at this stage may lead to the following health hazards.

Inhalation of zinc oxide fumes can occur when welding or cutting on zinc-coated metals. Exposure to these fumes is known to cause metal fume fever. Symptoms of metal fume fever are very similar to those of common influenza. They include fever (rarely exceeding 102o F), chills, nausea, dryness of the throat, cough, fatigue, and general weakness and aching of the head and body. The victim may sweat profusely for a few hours, after which the body temperature begins to return to normal. The symptoms of metal fume fever have rarely, if ever, lasted beyond 24 hours. The subject can then appear to be more susceptible to the onset of this condition on Mondays or on weekdays following a holiday than they are on other days.


Beryllium is sometimes used as a alloying element with copper and other base metals. Acute exposure to high concentrations of beryllium can result in chemical pneumonia. Long-term exposure can result in shortness of breath, chronic cough, and significant weight loss, accompanied by fatigue and general weakness.


Mercury compounds are used to coat metals to prevent rust or inhibit foliage growth (marine paints). Under the intense heat of the arc or gas flame, mercury vapors will be produced. Exposure to these vapors may produce stomach pain, diarrhea, kidney damage, or respiratory failure. Long-term exposure may produce tremors, emotional instability, and hearing damage.


Inhalation and ingestion of lead oxide fumes and other lead compounds will cause lead poisoning. Symptoms include metallic taste in the mouth, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal cramps, and insomnia. In time, anemia and general weakness, chiefly in the muscles of the wrists, develop. Lead adversely affects the brain, central nervous system, circulatory system, reproductive system, kidneys, and muscles.


Cadmium is used frequently as a rust-preventive coating on steel and also as an alloying element. Acute exposures to high concentrations or cadmium fumes can produce severe lung irritation, pulmonary edema, and in some cases, death. Long-term exposure to low levels of cadmium in air can result in emphysema (a disease affecting the ability of the lung to absorb oxygen) and can damage the kidneys. Cadmium is classified by OSHA, NIOSH, and EPA as a potential human carcinogen

Disposing of your waste acids.

Place your acid in a separate container, I choose used 2 liter or 3 liter bottles,   Label these bottles as CLCu2 with a black sharpie marker. under that write may also contain trace amounts of NICKLE and ZINC, BERYLLIUM, CADMIUM and LEAD.   You can take these items to your local hazard roundup or recycle your acids with a method I plan on detailing in another instructable.

DO NOT dump your acids down the drain or on the ground.  it is IMPORTANT to be responsible with wastes.

Step 7: Creating Stannous Cloride.

Picture of Creating Stannous Cloride.

These foils are about 80% gold, and copper 20%

In order to reach a higher level of purity a second bath is required.  For that we will need to create a test Chemical called Stannous cloride or Sn CL2

This metal is essential for Identify how much gold is left in our 2nd chemical bath. 

For this you will need 1 beaker,  and about 30 ML or muratic acid.  1 gram of tin metal powder or shot. Weigh it out using your Scale.

it takes appox 4 hours to completely dissolve the tin metal shot. or instantly for the powder.

The resulting solution should be bright yellow.

Step 8: The Second Chemical Bath Refining Your Gold Foils.

Picture of The Second Chemical Bath Refining Your Gold Foils.


For this chemical bath I will be reproducing the process on small scale.  this is by far the most hazardous step and with the most reactive wastes.

For this step I am going to use a 100 ml beaker a portion of recovered foils,  about 3 grams.

I will be using Muratic acid, and clorox.

I will be adding only enough Muratic acid to cover my 3 grams of foils,   Using a Pipette I will slowly add Clorox until all of my foils have dissolved.  you can use a glass rod to help felicitate the process.

After your foils have dissolved the resulting solution will be a deep golden yellow maybe a little orange in color.

it may be desirable to filter your solution with the coffee filters 1 more time, depending on if little bits of green plastic from the board found their way into this step.

Step 9: Filtering Particles.

Picture of Filtering Particles.

After Dissolving ALL the foils you might notice a small amount of inductors, caps and transistors that wormed their way into the final process. This is normal. 

Simply Filter again using a long neck funnel and a tall flask.  The resulting solution should be a Deep and bright golden yellow..

Step 10: Testing Your Solution for Gold.

Picture of Testing Your Solution for Gold.

Ok, this is the exciting part and one where you get to see some real chemistry at work..

you will need:

Stannous cloride created earlier, 1 coffee filter paper, 2 pipettes or glass droppers.

Simply place 1 dot of recovered solution on a piece of filer paper,  Next place one drop of your stannous cloride on the other. The resulting reaction should turn purple.

If your did CONGRADS you have created AURIC Cloride  Or Aucl3 a gold bearing solution.   If your test drop didnt turn purple, add a little more tin to your stannous cloride and heat gently with a alcohol burner and BOROsiicate test tube.  Repeat Test.

depending on how much gold is in your solution it may appear black.

Step 11: Recovering Your Gold.

Picture of Recovering Your Gold.

Recovering your gold in solution is one of the Coolest steps.

Whats needed,  a plastic spoon, and the sodium Bisulfate or Stumpout.

Simply add very small amounts of stumpout,   Your Mixture should start to look like the pictures I have provided. This is caused by the SO2 Gas which acts to chemically displace the gold in solution.

When the reaction has finished you will have driven out a majority of the chlorine, and replaced it with Sulfur.  Any gold which was trapped in the solution has now be come a brown precipitate at the bottom of your beaker.

Retest with Stannous chloride, if your reaction still turns purple you need to add more stumpout.

It will take appox 10 hours for the gold to competely settle,  the solution should be clear at this point.

Step 12: Melting

Picture of Melting

OK this is the last stop, At this point you have drained off the last ot the solution with your pipette the bottom of your beaker should be coated with what looks like dried cinnamon.

THATS PURE GOLD.   Put that powder onto a fire brick that has been treated with a flux material like borax.  Melt the borax till it becomes glassy.   Apply your powder,

Heat with a MAPP torch or something more aggressive, careful not to blow your powder off the firebrick.

TADA Pure 24Karat gold. 

TO date I have used this process to recover approx 1 pound of gold from computer chips and the like.



P.S.  For more information about this process Visit this website.   This is a community of some of the brightest people I have ever had the pleasure of speaking with.


klamp54 (author)2013-06-16

Will this work with gold on magnetic based parts ?
I have some old glass resistors from 70's, a few pounds anyway, I'd like to know before I mess it up.

bert102 (author)klamp542016-09-17


Railes (author)klamp542013-06-17

No, ferrous metals will vastly reduce the effectiveness of chemical bath 1, the resulting pulp will not re-precipitate any gold I'm the final step. For magnetic conductors use Aqua Regina.

Capicayo (author)2017-12-09

Hello. I like your version. I have two questions. Can I use the typical
tin metal that I use for soldering to create the Stannous cloride? The second you have permission to laugh!

A few years ago I had bought a kit in which the steps I followed led me to create something called poor's man soup. On these days cleaning I found the bottle and it is light brown-white, not translucent color. like latte. Is still there any way to recover the gold? There are about 60 Pentium I - III CPUs, 5lbs of RAM and 10lbs of 8-16bit cards, all dissolved in. Any help will be appreciated.

NO51RA (author)2017-11-23

do you buy your scrap online or do you collect it from local sources, I’m super curious if you have a consistent supplier of chips!

CliffordK2 (author)2017-03-26

I got some smelted bars that where supposed to contain 40% gold and 60% brass. He said they came from computer chips. Is there a way to separate them now that they are mixed together?

DaveZ9 (author)CliffordK22017-11-15

Break into small bits and follow the above process

ΓιωργοςΚ17 (author)2017-05-31

can i use Aqua Regia to disolve gold ?


JohnathanW15 (author)2017-07-28

what do you have against nitrile gloves? can you provide evidence to support your opinion? most gov, industry and edu produced charts ive read rate them as ok for at least "incident contact" with everything involved here.

DaveZ9 (author)JohnathanW152017-11-15

Strong enough Nitric acid will actually cause nitrile gloves to catch fire......... Fuming red nitric is nothing to play with!

tjh20 (author)2017-10-31

I am about to run a test using the above methodology on a fake 1898 silver dollar. It is a silver-plated "brass" slug from China. The composition of the apparent brass is such that the coin is the exact size and weight of a genuine coin. The Ag thickness is rumored to be 100 mil. We will soon see.

jza121 (author)2017-07-08

Hello. I mixed AP to leach gold ore. I was told it was a poor choice. After adding SMB to the resulting solution; the percipitate was an electric yellow paste. How do I know if it is gold chloride powder? Could it be iron chloride? I though it would disintegrate if I tried to melt it?

Powersb (author)2012-11-01

Really interesting procedure (never seen anything like this). Can you use the same procedure for pins containing gold? Can I use potassium metabisulfite instead of sodium Bisulfite (i cant find any)?

num1bandit (author)Powersb2013-09-30

sodium bisulfite aka baking soda right?

DouglasD11 (author)num1bandit2017-01-28

baking soda is sodium bicarbonate

Railes (author)num1bandit2013-10-01

no baking soda is calcium carbonate. and yes you can use pottassium metabisulfite.

DouglasD11 (author)Railes2015-10-09

lol, not exactly, Folks, Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate. Calcium carbonate is chalk, dolomite, and many other things. Just because it has a Sodium or a carbonate in the name does not make everything baking soda. Anyone attempting this procedure really needs to know the difference, if you don't, then you need to do a little research until you do, otherwise you might nerve gas yourself or blow yourself up. If you're not familiar with chemistry, google solutions, reactions, precipitating metals and salts out of solution, chemistry safety procedures, molecular bonds, ions in solution, MSDS Safety information for every chemical you use or make. This is a process that requires some knowledge about what you're doing, it won't work if you don't, or it will backfire on you. Do your homework and you will have success, if you don't do your homework you will fail, so start googling :O)

num1bandit (author)DouglasD112017-01-28

Lol Doug I tried to heat pyrex and make nitric I was out side pirex broke floor full of acid

Guitar_Player (author)Railes2016-01-29

baking soda is actually sodium bicarbonate NaHCO3 calcium carbonate is CaCO3 which is a lime not baking soda

num1bandit (author)Railes2013-10-05

aka ph down?

DouglasD11 (author)num1bandit2015-10-09

no, see above

num1bandit (author)num1bandit2013-10-14


DouglasD11 (author)num1bandit2015-10-09

no, not even close to the same chemical, baking soda is sodium bicarbonate

SteveRogers (author)num1bandit2014-08-10

If you don't know the difference between baking soda and sodium bisulfite, you need to keep away from all chemical compounds.

Railes (author)Powersb2012-11-01

That shouldnt be an issue. Instead of creating sodium chloride. You would create potassium chloride the resulting exchance. Should create so2 gas. Lol give it a try, just dont hold your face over the beaker if you added distilled water ..

num1bandit (author)Railes2017-01-28

Smelled chitty

Guitar_Player (author)2016-01-29

You may want to clarify in step 5 that it is the circuit board fingers not yours. ...there are those people out there who will put their fingers into acid...

You are a funny man/woman Guitar_Player guy person you! :-D

AmandaG151 (author)Guitar_Player2016-09-20

Bahahaha!!!! Right?!?!

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-30

I even filtered the gold and diluted it. About 50 ml of 50% of 1 g of EDTA was added to double the gold solution (filtered and decanted).

SHOE0007 (author)2016-11-30

I have done test with EDTA ph 8 with ammonia and ammonia chloride and sea salt and test dissolved partly neutral gold at a ph (solution of 4). It turned yellow gold indicating that there was no nickel or other metals just gold. Another link said that 95-99.99% of cell phone cpu are gold with little lead, nickel, etc. If it was lead it would have turned I think white, Nickel (Purple), Chromium (Purple Cr3+), etc. I may buy on e-bay a very percise nickel test for liquids.

DavidS531 (author)2016-10-01

I am sorry about this question but I need to know. Just how many, let's say, SDRAM chips, would it take to pay for all of the equipment & materials (including chemicals), just to get started? Allowing you enough pre-purchased equipment & materials to use in the recovery of more gold at a profit. A close guesstimate will do fine.

EnochS3 (author)DavidS5312016-11-24

the ratio I saw was around a gram per pound of fingers + boards.

EnochS3 (author)EnochS32016-11-24

In other words, people sell the scrap for way more than it is worth gold-wise, you'd need to find the scrap for 35-45 a pound max in order to make any money from the gold recovery effort if you were purchasing the scrap.

ElmakatyA made it! (author)2016-09-26

it is simple but for mor safty use dillute hydrochloric acid till 17%

ElmakatyA (author)2016-09-26

good work

ni1der (author)2016-08-24

I have an antique gold plated cane handle. Will the process work for this item?

ahmad__hatami (author)2016-07-27

my first liquid was blue.what is my problem?

and what should i do with the deposit of it?

YasirB7 (author)ahmad__hatami2016-08-20

I will help you
Contact me on WhatsApp
Yasir Bashir

Ubong01 (author)2016-04-07

Hello Sir can this work for all CPUs ?...cause I have about 10kg of Computer CPUs

m-iftikhar447 (author)Ubong012016-04-19

Hello Ubong01

can u give me details of cpu kinds, you have
you can e-mail me

Michelle-GianniM (author)2015-08-25

How do you recover the copper from the HCL, hydrogen peroxide and copper solution?

EricJ70 (author)Michelle-GianniM2016-04-05

Just put a stainless steel butter knife in the solution for a couple of days. The copper will cement to the steel. Pull it out and rinse it off. Then you have pure copper.

MarkoK25 (author)2016-02-26

Okey, I add SMB to the ''Yellow solution that contains gold'' and it went collorless, I left it over the night and nothing. What I should do now?! Did I add too much SMB, or it is because I need to heat it ? Please help. Thanks.

namindu (author)2015-11-03

who can tell me where I can find those acids?

treestump420 (author)namindu2016-02-11

Pool acid will do the trick.

treestump420 (author)2016-02-11

Would it be viable to use a 66% acid as opposed to the 34%? If have both but I'm not sure if the 66% would be too strong?

Guitar_Player (author)2016-01-29

Lol... *dumps acids down drain* realizes he has metal pipes still... *pipes disappear*

getrich1981 (author)2015-11-17

I got two of 155 gram of melted cpu pins. Can i still use this process? Also i couldnt find klean strip muriatic acid, is 37% hcl from lab company ok?

About This Instructable



Bio: I eat food, sometimes I'm funny.
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