Computer Gold Fingers

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When scrapping computers you will often come across wonderful gold encrusted components. (In reality, they are only gold plated.)

These “gold fingers” are often bought by amateur chemists, who using a blend of household cleaning products and hardware appliances, refine the gold to almost .999 purity.

These gold components are, despite appearances, not “ripe” with gold. Yes, refining gold fingers is easier than refining ore, but that doesn’t mean it is “full” of gold. It will take hundreds of pounds of computers to get even close to an ounce of gold.

If you have the time and patience to collect about ten of pounds of these gold fingers, home refiners will be willing to pay you upwards of $300.  Even a pound of fingers will likely draw $30 dollars. Each pound of gold fingers usually has 2 grams of gold.

UPDATE: Due to rising gold prices, gold fingers are sold for over $70 per pound!

These scrap gold fingers are found in many high-grade electronics. For example, inside of flat screen TVs, computer motherboards, daughter boards (aka PCI boards) and in some printers.

To get the most money from these components, you need to include a detailed picture which shows how “clean” they are.

To “clean” the gold fingers, you must cut them as close to the gold plating as possible. There should be no other types of electrical components; or in other words, just gold and green.

The easiest tool for cutting gold fingers is a large paper shear, or a band saw. I prefer a paper shear because it is quick and doesn’t cause as much of a mess as a band saw. When I first started, I would cut them off with an old rusted pair of tin snips. Now I use the following method:

If you do not have a paper shear or a band saw, you can cut gold fingers like this:

  1. Find a straight edge, or a vice
  2. Stick the gold fingers in the grip of the vice, or under the straight edge, until you have a clean “break edge”
  3. Use a sharp razor blade to cut along the straight edge. (This is called “scoring”) Do this a few times with firm pressure.
  4. Crack the gold fingers off in the vice, or use a pair of pliers and break the gold fingers off, along the line you cut.
  5. loosen the grip of the vice until the gold fingers fall out.

To summarize, Gold Fingers are:

  • Refined similar to CPUs and Motherboards, except it is easier to do for amateur chemists.
  • Valued at least at 1.5 grams of gold per pound
  • Can be collected from high grade electronics: flat screen TV, computer motherboards, PCIs, printers, ect.
  • Should be “cleaned” properly if you want to get paid the best prices
  • Can be cut best with a paper shear or band saw. If neither is available, just score along the edge with a razor a few times, and break off with a vice.

For more information on scrapping a computer, hard drives, CD DVD drives, motherboards, and most any other electronics, check out How To Scrap Apart A Computer.

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