Recovering and Refining Precious Metals

What You'll Need
A battery charger
A strong wooden
Medium sized rectangular pan
Stainless steel
Cathode that is made from the same material that is to be refined
Protective Gloves

If you want to recover precious metals from computer components, you should only do it by using a lab with a process called electrolysis. The most common precious metal that is recovered is gold because it is used in many computer components, such as motherboards. Once it is recovered, you will need to refine the metal further so that you can use the material.

Step 1 - Prepare for the Procedure

Ensure the work area where you will work is clean, tidy and well ventilated. You should also be sure that you have sufficient space to work in and that there are not other people near the area. Place the wooden box near the surface where you will work and test out the box to make sure that you can work while standing on the box. Next, put on your gloves.

Step 2 - Stainless Steel

Cut the stainless steel so it fits into the bottom of the pan, and ensure one edge protrudes from the top of it. Ensure that the stainless steel sits at the bottom of the pan. Put the components that contain the precious metals into the pan. Make sure that the precious metal components are pointing upwards when you load them.

Step 3 - Stripfree Solution

Carefully cover the components with Stripfree solution and make sure that they are completely submerged in the solution. 

Then, while standing on the wooden box, suspend the cathode above the solution and connect the battery charger's red wire to the portion of the stainless steel that is protruding from the pan. Connect the battery charger's black wire to the cathode. Switch on the cathode.

Step 4 - Extracting the Precious Metal

The cathode will start to make a buzzing sound and the precious metal will dissolve into the stripfree solution. It will begin to collect on the surface of the cathode. For best results, use a cathode that is the same as the precious metal you are collecting. If you use a cathode that is made of a different material, such as graphite, you can run into problems.

Step 5 - Remove the Precious Metal From the Cathode

Once you are satisfied that all material has been collected, remove the cathode from the solution and turn everything off. At this point it should be easy to separate the collected material from the cathode. Disconnect the battery charger from the mains and remove the wiring from the cathode and the pan.

Step 6 - Finishing

Rinse the precious metal fragments so they are free of the stripfree solution. Rinse the pan and stainless steel gauge together with your gloves and work area. Your extracted precious metal can be taken to a jeweler so that you can use it.