Dust in your store can reap unexpected rewards. In day-to-day activities like buffing, polishing, grinding, and so on, fine metal dust spreads around your workspace.
Collecting this accumulation of dust and precious metal amounts to a considerable return that can put money back in your pocket.
Here are a few easy ways to get the most out of your gold recovery:
Keep It Inside
A bench mat is essential to keeping your workspace clean and tidy. This can help to collect small bits of precious metals and prevents debris from falling onto the floor and getting scattered.
Also, the sticky adhesive of a Gold Mat placed at the entrance/exit of your work area will capture bits of gold and precious metal, helping you gather the tiny fragments on the bottom of your shoes.
TIP: To maximize your returns, keep different grades of metal scraps separated for refining.
Keep Your Sweeps
Keep cutoff/separating wheel pieces, old flex-shaft buffs, brushes, etc. and throw them in with the floor sweeps.
- Designate filings and trimmings from stone setting and seat cutting, for example, as clean filings.
- Use your bench mat to collect finishing wheel debris, buffings, pumice wheel, and other pre-finishing wheel debris. Keep this separate from your clean filings.
- Keep old buffing wheels, used sandpaper, and anything else you think might contain gold. It probably does!
Buy a Dust Collector
Rather than a traditional vacuum cleaner, use a Variable Speed Dust Collector with disposable bags to vacuum shop floors. This ensures the collection of 99.9% of debris and traps particles (down to 0.3 microns in size) in its collection chambers.
Save the filled bags, and keep them with your floor sweeps. These bags can contain a substantial amount of gold in the form of small solder snippings, filings, cut-off disc powders, small pieces from ring sizing, etc. that can all be sent to your refiner.
TIP: Vacuum your buffer daily. It helps keep the shop neat and decreases buffing dust from falling to the floor.
Don’t Forget the Ultrasonic Solution
Use a rinse bucket to rinse items coming from the ultrasonic. Also, bottle your old ultrasonic solution, settle it out, and pour off the clear top liquids. The sludge can be dried out and returned to your refiner with the buffing dust. Yield is typically about the same as buffing dust.
Drain Sweeper Installation
Don’t let your gold wash down the drain!
By investing in a drain sweeper, you can capture precious metal sediment that would otherwise be flushed down the pipes.
A Stuller tools study revealed that after nearly six weeks of using the drain sweeper, 0.082 ounces of gold were recovered, equating to roughly $77.67 at $947.25 gold. A product like this will pay for itself.
Crucible Care is Crucial
If you cast, rinse out your quench tank/bucket and pour off the suspended used investment.
- Keep the bottom sludge and put it in with the floor sweeps. This can contain a good amount of gold debris.
- Save old melting and casting crucibles and return with the floor sweeps as well; these also contain a good amount of finely divided gold particles.
More Ways to Maximize Gold Recovery Returns
- Save your filters, including those from air conditioners, dehumidifiers, and dust collectors. These can contain a good amount of fine gold dust from buffing.
- Segregate gold by karat from ring sizings and such. If kept separate, you can remelt and roll these pieces out to make sizing stock, wire, etc. You’ll get a higher return if the karatage of your gold bits is known.
- Save gold-filled and gold-plated pieces, along with silver watch batteries (throw out NiCd batteries; they have no value). These may have a small amount of gold, but anything saved helps pay bills.
Approximate Gold Recovery Yields
Clean Filings: Approximately 40% fine gold by weight
Dirty Bench Sweeps: Approximately 5% to 20% fine gold by weight
Buffing Dust: Approximately 2% fine gold by weight
Floor Sweeps (including vacuum cleaner bags): Approximately 1% by weight
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 10, 2016.