Producing Mechanical Parts

I showed up late to the game with Planetary Interaction in EVE Online. Really late, as in early last year.  That is pretty late for a feature that came in back in 2010.

And even then it took me a while to figure out how to make things work.

I blame that on the classically bad EVE Online UI, which few tutorials spend much time explaining around.  The typical intro to the topic say to do something while failing to mention the dozen motions and clicks that it really takes to, say, actually route a material from an extractor to a processor.

Not an uncommon occurrence in documentation, as once you know how to do something people often blur over the minutia in the brain.  I run into it all the time in technical documentation, where any process of a given number of steps almost always leaves out as many unstated assumptions.

The fact that I was no longer interesting in manufacturing did not help.   I wasn’t particularly driven to figure it out.

It wasn’t until we moved into Delve after the Casino War that I actually found a tutorial that finally broke through the UI barrier and finally made PI work for me.  As with minerals and moon goo, there was a call to start producing PI items to support manufacturing in the region now that we were too far from Jita for cheap and easy shipping.  Buy orders were up in our trade hub, I just had to figure out what to produce.

I tinkered around with various planets and things to produce.  With PI, there are five layers of production.  There are raw materials and then four levels of refined products.  Raw materials are easy, as is the first level of refinement, as that is just turning the raw material into a product usable for further production.  After that production requires combining materials to produce the next level of product.

At that point you end up having to combine the output from various planet types in order to continue, which means pulling stuff off of one planet and hauling it to another… and you can only do production beyond a certain point on barren and temperate planets.  In other words, some work is involved.

One of the early things I discovered was that I could get as far as mechanical parts, a second level production, on just a barren planet.  Furthermore, as a commodity, mechanical parts seemed to be in demand, as they are used in the production of fuel blocks and T2 construction.

After playing around with other options for a bit, I eventually dumped all but my barren planets, then found a few more locally, and concentrated on mechanical parts production exclusively.

Barren Planet Production

All I have to is keep an eye on things ever couple of days, restart extractors after their cycle is over, move extractor heads occasionally, and just make sure things are moving along producing mechanical parts.

Then about every other week I roll out in the Epithal and fly off to each planet’s customs office to collect the output.

Epithal at the Customs Office

I go from planet to planet picking up the output, then head off the the market hub for Delve, which is just a gate and a jump bridge away from my last pickup.

Go Epithal, Go!

There I just sell to the highest buy order.  Occasionally somebody will have a more lucrative buy order in another system and I will travel there instead.  But most times it is to the keepstar that is the center of the Imperium’s economic structure.

The output from PI nets me between 35 million and 50 million ISK per week.  Not enough to make anybody rich or swear off super carrier ratting, but it is a nice little addition to the wallet.  It covers my jump clone and ammo costs.  And, of course, it helps feed the economic machine that is Delve.

6 thoughts on “Producing Mechanical Parts

  1. Sendric

    I’m actually making around two thirds of my ISK from PI at the moment. That will likely be the case until I graduate to my Thanatos ratting/Paladin escalation plan in September or thereabouts. Once I get that going I will probably back off my current carcinogenic level of clicking.

    I’ve found these two sites in tandem to be immensely helpful:

    http://alysii.com/eve/pi/ and http://eveplanets.com/

    A quick browse there and it looks like you could make Organic Mortar Applicators (P0-P4) in system with TNT’s Keepstar on one account skilled to 4. YMMV but after a bit of up front set-up you can probably get more out of fewer hauls to the hub; there are always reasonable buy orders for P4 there.

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  2. SynCaine

    For P2 production, assuming max skills: One extract for each raw, each linked to a storage. Two P1 production also linked to each storage. Centrally located launch pad. Next to pad, two P2 producers. P1 from each storage goes to P2 producers, P2 output goes to launch pad.

    The major advantage of the split storage is you can very easily see which P1 you have more of each planet, and can adjust the number of extractors accordingly, all without missing a single cycle assuming not-terrible yields. With max skills, you can get 4 or so extractor heads per, which should be plenty of material if the planet isn’t over-worked.

    My setup is basically a bunch of that, with one factory planet turning the P2 into P4, which I’ve found sells for much higher margins in Delve off sell orders.

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  3. Sendric

    @SynCaine: With max skills I have been having my best yields running 3 P1/3 P1 => 3 P2 layouts. In this set-up I use one central storage facility that buffers all of the P0 and P1 for production and then the P2 producers feed into a launchpad. It takes about three cycles of the P1 producers to engage all three of the P2 producers, but after that they seem to all stay engaged. I have two characters that have Level 4 Command Centers; with them I use a 3/3 => 2 layout in order to get an extra extractor head, but it is the same otherwise.

    Like you, I am taking all of that to a single P2 => P4 production planet using a layout I found on the alliance forum that does work as advertised. I may test the sell order waters based on what you have said, but the buy orders are close enough to Jita price right now for what I am producing. I am doing pretty well with it compared to Forsaken Hubs and I like it better than mining. Not everything is perfectly balanced, but selling the overages (after maintaining a healthy buffer) or using them in some minor forays into production is fine too.

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  4. SynCaine

    @Sendric: I found that with only one storage, I had to micromanage PI more (start/stop extractors, move the extractor heads more). With one storage per P1, that was no longer the case, and I could just run them all on a 24hr timer and maybe adjust extractor heads once a week, if that.

    Less production than single storage, but also a lot less clicking (or decreased production because some P0 filled up the storage and threw the whole balance off, which was happening to me far too often in a single storage setup).

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  5. Sendric

    @SynCaine: I hear you on that, and I do run into that P0 situation once or twice a week. It actually happened to me last night with Oxides. Given that PI is still my best ISK-to-effort activity at the moment I just deal with it one of two ways:

    1) Buy the shortfall in P2 off of the market – I spent 6 mil in Mechanical Parts last week to max out the P4 production run that was otherwise ready. This had a 40 mil return on investment within 24 hours.

    2) Save a reserve of overproduced items to correct shortfalls later – I almost always have overages here. 2-3 heads still extract more P0 than three P1s can use. (maybe because people avoid Gas planets)?

    I also generally run on 3 day cycles and restart them daily, it is a bit less efficient, but I also don’t have to worry if I feel like taking a fleet ping or need to deal with RL for a couple of days.

    I’ll be able to sit in a carrier next week and maybe start ratting with it by the end of August. Once I do that I may give your set-up a whirl.

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  6. Sendric

    Deployment has made me doubly happy with the PI alt farm. Losing my main to Hak has not put much of a crimp in production and, even reducing my cycles and schedules, the ISK from making P4 PI will keep me in doctrines (and a couple of other things I want to try) in Hak for the duration of the deployment.

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