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Gold Fingers – How to Recover Gold from Electronic Scrap



hi everybody in this video I will demonstrate how to recover the gold plating from connector edges aka fingers the fingers are found in most scrap computers and servers warning the process shown in this video involves highly corrosive acids and should only be done outside or in a fumehood using safety gear such as gloves goggles and a respirator is mandatory let's begin the fingers are placed in a plastic strainer here we have some hydrochloric acid a little bit of copper chloride solution and a small DC powered air bubbler the plastic tube goes under the strainer with the fingers right at the center now the fingers are covered by the acid and the copper solution and some water to make sure all the fingers are covered by the solution turn on the bubbler and that's it for the next week or so so here we are 24 hours later the solution color turned olive green and doesn't seem like much has happened let's kill the air and see what's going on you nice we can clearly see some gold foils floating around seems to be working well the cover plate is placed back on and in the air tube is connected here we are again 48 hours into the process the solution color is now very dark green and here we can clearly see that some of the fingers have been completely depleted day6 seems like the majority of the gold plating is now loose let's keep it in the solution one more day just to make sure now you might ask yourself what exactly is going on in this process on every common printed circuit board there's basically three layers of metal plating copper nickel and gold the point is to slowly etch away the copper and nickel to free the gold layer to be honest chemically speaking the copper chloride etchant system is quite complex however there are three simple things that will push this process forward and are important to remember first is having free hydrochloric acid second is the presence of copper ions in the solution and the third is dissolved oxygen maintaining these three parameters will ensure the etching process will continue on the next batch of fingers here we are in the seventh day and it's time to recover the gold foils from the solution and what's left on the fingers I'll let the main solution with the majority of the gold foils settle for a little while and begin to wash the fingers and collect the foils that are still hanging on the fingers the fingers in the strainer are washed with plain water in a five-gallon bucket this will take a while and you'll probably get the point just shake until all the gold falls off let's fast-forward you we still haven't finished with the fingers it is now set aside to dry completely we'll return to that later and now for the main batch of gold foils after settling for a while the bulk of the etching solution is filtered first by pouring just the solution on top you can see the filtrations flow rate is quite fast and here's our recovery product nice and shiny gold foils the etching solution is moved to storage and will be reused on the next batch the foils from the fingers wash is now added to the main batch of foils now the bulk of the foils and powder are drained to the filter the filter and the foils are placed in a regular open mouth beaker which is placed on top of a hot plate the gold foils and filter are now covered with a diluted hydrochloric acid half water and half acid the plate is turned on to medium heat and the beakers covered with a watch glass now that the solution is quite hot the addition of concentrated nitric acid begins there's about three milliliters of nitric in this pipette this is enough to complete the task at hand as the acid is added we can clearly see an immediate reaction hot aqua regia is so corrosive that aside from dissolving the gold foils it will also disintegrate the filter paper down to a pulp by the way remember the fingers we sent out to dry well once they're dry we can squeeze out a little bit more gold than we got earlier just shake it hard see that gold this goes into the aqua regia solution as well here we can see the gold-bearing solution and the pulp settled to the bottom of the flask the gold-bearing solution is filtered one last time to get rid of the pulp and any other solid particles let's flute the filter real quick and wet it the pulp and the solution is poured into the filter and allowed to drain all the way through you when all of the original gold solution has been drained the filter and the pulp are washed several times until it becomes white again the gold solution is now ready for the rest of the refining steps such as reduction of the gold washing it and melting it these steps are already covered by my other videos so just click on these boxes below to see the rest of the processes and here's the result of the recovery process from about 500 5 grams of clean cut cold fingers do you have a guess of how much pure gold this batch yielded write it down in the comment section below thank you for watching my tutorial please comment share and subscribe

Glenn Chapman

31 Comments

  1. I've seen videos on YT of people stripping off the gold-plated fingers by simply applying heat and pressure. That way you have a lot less non-gold material to remove. PCBs and components may have gold on them elsewhere, but the gold content is really small and/or hard to extract.

  2. Its not worth the efforts unless if you dont have something else to do …. killing ur time and making money even if its little …. he makes from youtube much much more than recycling gold

  3. You seemed like you wasted copper and nickel, is there anyway to get those too? Because I'm sure those have a price too…

  4. you should part 1, part 2 and so on because i would like to see the next step but i don't know what video is next! Thanks

  5. If you are getting these items free it’s worth it. Example: I do house cleanouts, hundreds of cell phones, cameras, computers etc per year. For me it’s worth it to take out the gold plated pieces. Stack them up over a year or more. Then do it all at once. That’s how you get a good chunk of Change. But no you can’t make a living off this. Only if you’re slowly building.

  6. Pretty sure if you said 'golden ram' to an earlier generation you'd get slapped and called blasphemous. the Illuminati have trained you well. But the answer here is calf or lamb. Thanks for playing.

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