In this Instructable, I will show you how to extract gold from computers using products most people have lying around in their homes. The way I extract the gold is relatively straight-forward and pretty easy, but the chemicals used are very dangerous and should not be performed without proper knowledge and equipment.
This process is not supposed to be lucrative. It is a great science project. So don't try to make money off of this process. You will end up losing money!!Also, please remember if you like this Instructable, please vote for me. I work very hard and spend a lot of time to make these Instructables. It would truly mean a lot. Thanks and Enjoy!
Although this method of gold extraction calls for household chemicals, that doesn't mean they are safe. Please be advised that you must handle these chemicals with care. Goggles, gloves, glass apparatus and a very well ventilated room with a fume hood (and a gas mask/respirator are needed as well) or an outside area is highly recommended.
After this experiment is over, I will show you how to properly dispose of the chemicals. You should know before starting this experiment, you must set up an appointment with a hazardous waste processing facility or H-MRF.
And last but not least, the chemicals:1) Toilet Bowl Cleaner (must contain hydrochloric acid). If you have lab grade hydrochloric acid, by all means use it. Can be found at Home Depot, most home improvement stores and plumbing supply stores. HAZARDOUS; do not ingest or get in eyes and mucous membranes.
In this step, you take the hydrogen peroxide and toilet bowl cleaner and mix equal parts of each with enough total solution to be able to fully submerge PCBs. After the solution has been made, drop the PCBs in and make sure they are fully submerged.
This solution is called an etching solution because the solution made above dissolves the nickel under the gold. as a result, the gold foils are detached from the nickel because it has been dissolved.
WARNING: This is the most hazardous part as tiny amounts of chlorine gas are released (depending on he concentrations of the chemicals used. I am using 3% hydrogen peroxide and the toilet bowl cleaner is 9.5% hydrochloric acid.). Make sure you are outside or in a very well ventilated area with the right safety equipment.
In this step, all you have to do is wait for the gold foils to come off the PCB. Once you see all the gold foils floating around, wait one more day to make sure all nickel is actually off the gold foils.
In this step, you will need a large soda bottle that will collect all etching solution (even if it is diluted with water, it still must go into the bottle for proper disposal). Then, you should remove the PCB and scrape off any gold still attached to the PCB (you should be wearing gloves if performing this step by hand) and fully submerge it into a cup of water.
Then, add some add some water to the existing solution full of gold (I recommend doubling the amount of solution with water. Also, if you need more capacity to hold the solution, a big plastic cup should do.).
After you thin out the solution and the gold foils have settled to the bottom, pour out a little of the solution (while keeping the gold at the bottom) into a your large soda bottle. Add some more water and repeat many times until the solution is thin enough to go through a coffee filter.
In this step, pour your solution containing the gold into the coffee slowly (make sure your coffee filter is over a cup). Be careful not to rip the filter or you will have to start the filtration process over again.
After filtering out all the gold, pour out the excess water into your hazardous waste bottle that will be disposed of properly, and continue to run regular water through the filter to clean the gold.
Then, wait for the gold foils to settle to the bottom and get as much water out. After that, you could wait for the water to evaporate out and you are left with just gold. However, the gold foils tend to stick to the cup, so I keep mine in a glass vial with some water.
In this step, package your etching solution in a bottle with a very tight cap (if using chemical concentrations higher than what I've used, package in glass bottle. Otherwise, plastic is fine.). Label the bottle and make sure it clearly says HAZARDOUS, DO NOT DRINK OR OPEN in huge letters all over the bottle. Tape the cap with masking tape so people, if they get ahold of it, don't open it. Also, keep away from anyone else, especially young children, or any other bottles of the same kind.
Also, take PCBs and put them in a plastic bag and put into trash. These are fine to put in the trash if you have followed previous step of soaking them in a cup of water. If not, please soak in water before disposing.
After properly packaging, take to your nearest hazardous waste processing facility or H-MRF. These facilities are only by appointment and sometimes, depending on where you live, charge a fee (around $5 in most places that are government run. I don't know what the fee is for privately run facilities.).
I have scrap gold chains, gold ring, many old cell phones, including sim cards, some computer motherboards I like to process to extract the gold & silver. But I dont have the space, means or time to do this myself.Question: is there any place who will extract it and melt gold/ silver extracted into bars for a few. Would it b worth time.Thanks
Hello Mr Khan I am from india and I am looking for someone who know about gold recycling,I am ready to pay good amount of salary. If you are interested please message me on what's app my number is 7two0double8one8four1nine please use the indian country code
I tried this but reaction was not like picture I now have gold connected to copper.it seems that the gold was attached to copper over nickle which dissolved there is also a bunch of plain copper at bottom I cannot filter it with coffee filter
I may be a little novice understanding this issue, but how about slow heating the electronics over a furnace slowly removing the metals as they liquefy? I realized that is probably cost prohibitive but Not that far fetched I would image?Edit: limiting oxygen intake to keep the parts from blazing? I was just wondering.
hi and nice post of the electronic gold ;) im bin doing for some time and have alot, what use are hydrogen peroxide and hydrochloric acid,50%-50% great mix ;) but wonder how pure are the gold fingers after that, do you know that, i have plan to grind all to powrder them pan it " im an gold digger as well" then put it in acid bath regards johnny from sweden
I wonder if making crude Nitric acid with 31 percent Hydrochloric acid and Sodium Nitrate to dissolve more gold would work? It would be quite expensive 60 dollars for 100 g Sodium Nitrate on Ebay. Also, HCl + H202 did dissolve gold I plated with it! You can clearly see the gold.
he's not dissolving the gold, he's dissolving the nickel from underneath the gold, nickel which IS dissolved by Hydrochloric or Hydriodic acid. The gold plate is left free of the substrate. Not a viable money-making process at this volume unless you manage to find your chemicals for free-otherwise financially you'd be better off picking grains of gold out of sand at the beach. Still entertaining and educational though!
I am doubtful that the hydrochloric acid content of a toilet cleaner, even boosted with hydrogen peroxide is strong enough to dissolve much nickel, I believe just the copper has dissolved. I would love to check this but I have never seen Lysol for sale here in Oz.