Getting started with Manufacturing – part 2

This is part two of my guide-like exposé on manufacturing. As always, don’t take this as written in stone, these are merely my personal thoughts on the matter, that I’m trying to formulate coherently now as the corporation I’m in is moving into the field of manufacturing. I might get the mechanics wrong, and my opinions might be plain stupid.

Onward we go.

The raw stuff

Not surprisingly, in order to build something, anything, you need raw material. Since we’re only dealing with tech 1 here, the raw materials we need are minerals (tech 2 requires tech 2 components, made out of moon minerals, which is a completely different can of worms all together).

I can think of three sources of minerals:

  1. Refined from ore
  2. Refined from loot
  3. Bought from the market

And of course variations of those three (buy modules and refine them, buy ore and refine it, steal ore, steal loot, scam minerals, whatever, lets keep it simple).

I’m going to assume that you know how to mine, and if you don’t, learn. And take a look at the Miner’s Bible, also known as Halada’s Mining Guide. Granted, some of what he speaks about there can go over the head of a beginner, but once you’ve done a bit of mining things will start to fall into place.

Mining gives you ore, which is unrefined. Ore comes in different types and varieties, and each gives a varying refining output. Take a peek at Grismar’s Ore Chart for an example. Getting a perfect refine is pretty skill intensive for a beginner. Hopefully you’re in a corp, and chances are that the corp has atleast one member that can and is willing to give you a perfect refine.

And, to make things harder, in addition to requiring a bit of skills to get a perfect refine, the personal standing you have with the corporation owning the station you’re refining at also comes into effect. The station owner takes a bit of tax from you, essentially some % of the minerals you get, unless you have good enough standing with them. I think the treshold for 0% tax is a standing of 6.67.

So unless you have a friendly corpie ready to do some refining for you, start skilltraining and get ready for a bit of a grind to get that standing up.

Of course, noone’s saying that you need to have perfect perfect refine in order to do manufacturing, but if you have even the slightest bit of OCD, and are thinking long-term, then yes, you’re going to want them refining jobs to not have any waste, what so ever. It’s easy to stop struggling towards that goal the closer you get, because honestly the waste becomes rather pitifully small near the end. In the end its your decision.

In order to refine loot (modules taken from belt rats or mission NPCs) the same rules apply. Skillwise it’s even more intensive, however, since you’ll need Scrapmetal Processing, which in turn requires Metallurgy at V. “Luckily” Metallurgy V is the same skill that allows you to do ME research on BPOs at the fastest possible speed, so you might want to get that anyway.

There’s some forummurmur that the minerals that people get from refining loot, and especially the loot from the drone regions (you’ll see a list of the alloys in the abovementioned and linked-to ore table by Grismar) is skewing the mineral market, and making the mission loot the number one income for minerals when calculating isk/hour. I don’t know if that’s true, I believe the good doctor over at CCP claimed it not to be during the CCP panel on fanfest, not sure. Either way, there’s also been forummurmur that CCP is looking into the issue, so a change might be on the way. Who knows?

Market minerals

If you’re in hi sec you’ll have to buy minerals sooner or later. Zydrine and Megacyte is hard to get by otherwise, and is needed for many modules, and certainly when you start building ships. Small quantities, sure, but no matter how much Veldspar you refine you ain’t never gonna get Zydrine that way.

The easiest way to get minerals is to buy them off the market. No fuzz, no buzz, you get the minerals and you get building. Easy as that.

And since profit from manufacturing should be calculated according to this formula:

MoneyGotFromSellingShit – MoneyGottableFromSellingRawMaterials = Profit

Albeit somewhat more refined (ho ho, refined, I crack myself up) than that, there are taxes and whatnot involved.

Anyway, the point of the formula is that, really, you might as well buy the minerals outright instead of first going about working your ass off getting them, provided you get a good enough price when buying them. And that epiphany just struck me. Do I feel stupid. And in order to ensure that is not to buy from the cheapest sell order in a trade hub near you. Oh no. What you want to do is to set up buy orders of your own.

No surprise here really, this does involve a number of skills. However, the skills are also useful when you get to the “Selling Stuff You’ve Built”-phase. They give a number of different bonuses and abilities. A rundown on what bonuses your skills are currently getting you can be found if you open your wallet and choose the “Orders” tab. At the bottom of the window you see the number of buy/sell orders you can have, transaction taxes, modification ranges and so on.

  • The skills Trade, Retail, Wholesale and Tycoon all increase the number of buy/sell orders you can have.
  • Broker Relations lower the cost of setting up a market order, while Accounting lowers the transaction tax (which I think you only pay when you sell something)

Some levels there are essential to begin with.

Other skills that might be of interest are those that I call “convenience” skills. For example, Procurement lets you set up a buy order from a distance. That is, you can sit in Penirgman and set up a buy order in Amarr, two jumps away, if you want to, instead of travelling all the way over there. In coexistence with Procurement is Visibility. Without it, your remotely-set up buy orders can only buy stuff sold at the station they’re set up at. Daytrading lets you modify market orders from afar, again, potentially saves on travelling time.

It’s quite possible that with good enough trade skills and market research you’ll never have to undock again, and still earn lots of lots of isk. And indeed, there are players that play EVE in just that manner. I don’t have the market savvy for it, so I’ll leave that to them, and more power to them for earning isk that way.

What you want to consider when setting up a buy order is the amount, price and range. How much you want to buy you should be able to determine yourself. The price you’re buying at depends on buy orders in and around the station and system you’re setting up the buy order in. You might get away with buying stuff supercheap if the newbie who just managed to somehow get a bunch of Zydrine just outright sells it without bothering to check the market. But on the offchance that there’re smart people out there, make sure that you don’t make it too tempting for the potential seller to just take their stuff to the station or system next door. There’s a question of balance here: the less isk you spend now, the higher your profit margin later.

The range of your buy order determines from how far away people can sell their stuff to you. The wider a net you cast the more likely you are to face the possibility of running around at a later point collecting all the stuff you’ve bought. This is all up to you. It’s also possible to set a minimum number of units with each transaction. For example, you can set so that noone can sell you one piece of Tritanium at the time, but rather that you’re buying no less than say 100.000 units with each individual transaction.

Finally, remember to set the duration of the market orders. Trust me when I say that there’s some annoyance involved with spending an hour setting up intricate market orders, and then forgetting about duration, meaning that they all cancel after 1 day instead of the 3 months that you were planning for.

The finaly tally

And that’s all I can think of at the moment. If you have any questions or comments, don’t hesitate to let me know. And if you notice any terrible faults here, or indeed any faults at all, do tell. Or keep it to yourself and let me keep on living in fantasy land 😉

Other parts of this guide:

  1. Blueprints
  2. This one

~ by Shaun Livingstone on November 21, 2008.

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