Making Money From Your Base
If you want a relatively simple way of making money, the easiest is to farm mono-crops, such as Gravitino Balls or NipNip Buds. The easiest of these is to set up a bud farm, since the only raw material is Coprite and buds. You should be given the Blueprints for growing the buds after the last task you complete for the Farmer. I set up four Biodomes; each dome, if over a Circular Room, holds 16 slots for plants which never need to be refreshed. The set of four domes will hold 64 plants which can be harvested every four hours for a bit over 1,000,000u. To set it up, find a Gek trader or ship captain and buy one or two buds. The Coprite can be made (or expanded) in a refiner as required. Plant the bud(s), and when it has flowered, pick it and plant another using that bud as a seed. Repeat to get 2,4,8,16,32 bud crops, and at the end you will have a 64 bud farm without any expense. The buds regenerate every four hours so can be harvested several times per 'day'.
Blueprints and Recipes:
Obtaining a Blueprint allows you to create a material or manufactured item in an Exosuit slot. A Recipe is simply a list of ingredients that can be combined in a Refiner, and you can find a relatively complete set of recipes in a link near the bottom of this page. Some Recipes are also treated as Blueprints, so that you must know the Blueprint before the Reactor will produce the material. It seems that the creation of new (and especially manufactured) materials require Blueprints while other Refiner operations don't even have an equivalent Blueprint.
Industrial farming and production:
Many industrial goods use plant-based inputs. If you have completed the Science quests, you have all the Blueprints needed to make Circuit Boards, which can sell for 900,000u, and if you have completed the Farmer quests, you have the Blueprints for farming their raw materials. With the Refiners and a small farm, these can be turned out every few hours, but the real money is in more complex manufacturing.
In NMS, each level of manufactured product roughly doubles to triples the value of its inputs. For example, the Circuit Board (900,000u), if combined with a Superconductor (1,500,000u) produces a Quantum Processor, valued at 4,400,000u, and if that is combined with a Portable Reactor (4,200,000u) and Geodesite (150,000u), it yields a Fusion Ignitor with an average selling price of 15,600,000u. With the blueprints and proper farm/industrial set up, you can crank out one of these every two to four hours, depending on how many plants you have.
This is one of the most important pieces of equipment if you want to generate resources, since most materials can be synthesized from, or expanded by Oxygen. If you input 50 units of Condensed Carbon, the Harvester will collect 250 units of Oxygen over a short period of time and stop, waiting for you to offload the Oxygen and recharge it. I try to keep at least one cargo slot full at all times. Note that this harvester cannot be moved once placed.
If you put this down on a livable world (your base, usually), this will extract Nitrogen from the air, and on a radioactive world, it will harvest Radon. It works much more slowly than the Oxygen Harvester, so I keep it running all the time and stockpile 1000 or so units. Nitrogen can be easily converted into Sulphurine, Ammonia or Radon, so it is also a good industrial feed stock. Unlike the Oxygen Harvester, this one can be 'picked up' and carried with you to new locations. There is a rotating light on top which goes red when it is finished mining and needs to be emptied and re-powered. Remember that it does not have a built-in beacon, so if it is not on a base, place a Beacon next to it so it can be found.
Autonomous Mining Unit
The operation of this has changed over various patches, and it has gone from being completely useless to very valuable. It can only be ‘created’ over an ore body, and when placed and fueled (Carbon – what else…), it will begin mining the ore body, although much slower than by hand. What makes this so useful is that the ore body is now infinite. I find it particularly important for Uranium, and I place it over an ore body on a gamma planet and then put up a Base Computer and Transporter. Whenever I need more Uranium to fuel my Launch Engine, I just teleport there, take the 250 units of Uranium, refuel and leave. Since there is usually not too much Uranium in a single deposit, this allows you to get a full bin’s worth from a single deposit – forever - and is much more efficient than hopping all over a planet to find deposits. Note that the unit is largely made from Uranium, so your original Uranium miner can be used to quickly make more mining units. It works with any ore deposit, so I set up ‘baselets’ on deposits where needed and just make periodic rounds as I need the materials. To prevent confusion, I use the Base Computer to rename the bases, such as ‘Base-Uranium’, ‘Base-Dioxite’, etc. Once placed, these units cannot be picked up again, so place them wisely. Also note that if you don’t place them in a base, you should place a Beacon alongside them so they can be located when you return; they don’t have a marker of their own. I just found and reported a bug where the AMU will switch from mining whatever ore it is on to another, random one. The only way to get around this is to delete and re-build the AMU. Fortunately, when you delete it, the materials are saved to your iventory so you can immediately build another.
Your Simplified Base and Money Machine
There are two high-value manufactured items, the Fusion Ignitor and the Stasis Device, each of which can be sold for about 15,000,000u, and with the proper set-up, you can create one every four hours (or less). It may take a number of raids on Manufacturing Facilities to get all the required blueprints, but you already have the Blueprints for the Circuit Board, and those will net you about 900,000u each for little work once the plants are in place. Liquid Explosive will get you about 800,000u as well, and these two are basic parts of the Fusion Ignitor, so it pays to get the farm up and running soon.
Building Fusion Ignitors
To minimize the amount of time spent running around, I found that a good way to organize everything was to store raw materials in the Storage Bins as they accumulated, do some preliminary refining as required and then assemble everything at once. Although by this time you should have a goodly number of Exosuit slots, the assembly really doesn't require very many. First, the plantings and Harvesters need to be set up to provide all the raw materials; the numbers below allow production roughly twice/day.
Plantings in Biodome 1:
2 Mordite Root (needs 80 Mordite)
2 Frost Vines (needs 100 Frost Crystals and 50 Dioxite)
12 Fungal Plants (needs 600 Fungal Mold and 300 Ammonia)
Plantings in Biodome 2:
8 Solar Vines (needs 400 Solaneum and 200 Phosphorous
6 Echinocactus (needs 300 Cactus Fruit and 150 Pyrite)
Planted Outside 16 Star Bramble (needs 800 Star Bramble and 400 Parafinnium)
Note that once the plants are planted, they need no further inputs to keep them producing.
Assuming you are starting with no 'raided' materials, each Fusion Ignitor will also require the following raw materials:
120 Pure Ferrite
30 Ionized Cobalt
The Nitrogen can be obtained from your Atmospheric Harvester, and if you have also placed a Harvester on your 'Uranium base', it will provide the Radon. Alternatively, the 200 Radon can be produced from refining 200 Sulfurine and 200 Oxygen [the 200 Sulfurine is from 200 Nitrogen and 200 Oxygen]. If you are on an island such as my base, abundant Salt can be found in ocean minerals, or can be mined on planets with Salt deposits.
The Assembly Process:
Using the Large Refiner, begin producing Geodesite, one of the 'top end' materials:
Dirty Bronze from 60 Pure Ferrite + 30 Pyrite + 10 Gold
Herox from 30 Ammonia + 30 Ionized Cobalt + 10 Gold
Lemmium from 60 Pure Ferrite + 30 Uranium + 10 Gold
Geodesite (in Exosuit Slot) from Dirty Bronze + Herox + Lemmium
Next, use the Large Refiner to produce all of the 'mid-level' materials:
2 Thermic Condensate from 200 Sulphurine + 40 Condensed Carbon + 20 Salt
2 Nitrogen Salt from 200 Nitrogen + 20 Condensed Carbon + 20 Salt
2 Enriched Carbon from 200 Radon + 40 Condensed Carbon + 20 Salt
Then, harvest the plants and assemble as you go:
In Biodome 1, harvest one Mordite Root, both Frost Vines and all of the Fungi. In one of your Exosuit Slots:
Make Acid from the 25 Mordite and 600 Fungal Mold.
In Biodome 2, harvest four Solar Vines and three Echino Cacti, then:
Make a Heat Capacitor from the 100 Frost Crystals and 200 Solaneum.
Make Unstable Gel from 200 Cactus Flesh.
Create Liquid Explosive from the Acid and Unstable Gel.
Go outside and harvest eight Star Brambles, and make, in sequence:
Polyfiber from 100 Cactus Flesh and 200 Star Bulbs
A Circuit Board from the Polyfiber and the Heat Capacitor.
A Semicondictor from Thermic Condensate + Nitrogen Salt
A Superconductor from the Semiconductor + Enriched Carbon.
A Quantum Processor from the Circuit Board and the Superconductor.
An Organic Catalyst from Thermic Condensate and Enriched Carbon.
A Fusion Accellerator from the Organic Catalyst and a Nitrogen Salt.
A Portable Reactor from the Fusion Accellerator, a Nitrogen Salt and the Liquid Explosive.
Finally, create the Fusion Ignitor from the Portable Reactor, Quantum Computer and Geodesite.
You should be able to sell this at a minimum of 15,000,000U - or even more!
And you can do this twice a day...
The Stasis Device is very much the same in that it needs the Quantum Processor and substitutes a Cryogenic Chamber for the Portable Reactor and Iridescite for the Geodescite. A complete flow chart for the Fusion Ignitor and basic industriaql materials can be found HERE, and a complete list of Refiner recipes is found HERE.