The process of 'crafting' is to produce an end product off of input products using a recipe. The player or Assembling machines can craft. Smelting is achieved by using Furnaces. Since smelting cannot be done by the player, it is impossible to craft some items directly from raw resources. Some crafting even beyond raw resources still requires an assembling machine.
In the beginning of the game, it is easy to make everything manually, but as the game advances manual crafting is less and less efficient of a way to create. Products that require liquids and a few others (such as engine units) cannot be manually crafted. This is to encourage automation.
- Main article: Achievements
The concept of crafting is directly connected to the following achievements:
- Lazy bastard
- Win the game by crafting no more than 111 items manually.
- You are doing it right!
- Construct more machines using robots than manually.
Manual crafting is the most basic form of crafting. To manually craft an object, open the player's inventory (Default keybind e ), and select an object to manually craft on the right. Left click for one, right click for five, and shift click to make as many as possible. If the image of the item is greyed out, ensure you have the materials necessary to craft the object. If you lack a resource, it will be shown highlighted in red text if you mouseover the product. Materials that you don't have but you can craft will be highlighted in orange text, and will be chain-crafted to reach the product you selected. Common candidates being copper cable or Electronic circuits, which will be automatically crafted if you choose an item that contains them.
While manually crafting, there will be icons in the bottom left of the screen, which contain the current crafting operation. When an item is selected for crafting, the resources will be preemptively taken from the player's inventory. If that operation is then cancelled, the items will be fully returned to the player.
To cancel a manual crafting operation from the queue at the bottom left of the screen, left click (to cancel one operation), right click (to cancel five operations), or shift-left click to cancel all crafts of that item. This is useful if you accidentally queue the wrong product, or too many of a product. All the materials taken to craft the item will be returned to your inventory. Manual crafting can be cancelled at any time, but already-crafted intermediate products will not be uncrafted.
Automated crafting is done outside of the player's inventory, allowing for multiple products to be produced at once, in synchronous harmony. This is where most crafting should take place.
Key structures in automated crafting are:
| Burner mining drill
Electric mining drill
|Offshore pump||Extracts Water from lakes.|
|Pumpjack||Extracts Crude oil from oil fields. Introduced in 0.9.0.|
| Stone furnace
|Process raw minerals to their intermediate products base metal, by smelting.|
|Assembling machine 1||Assemble intermediate products to needed items. It can craft items that require up to 2 types of ingredients. Cannot handle fluid ingredients.|
|Assembling machine 2||Assemble intermediate products to needed items. It can craft items that require up to 4 types of ingredients. Can handle recipes with fluid ingredients.|
|Assembling machine 3||Assemble intermediate products to needed items. It can craft items that require up to 6 types of ingredients. Can handle recipes requiring fluid ingredients.|
| Oil Refinery
|Process Crude oil and other fluid intermediate products. Introduced in 0.9.0.|
|Centrifuge||Process Uranium ore into more useful intermediate products. Introduced in 0.15.0.|
As an introduction to crafting, let's craft some simple iron plates.
Task: create Iron plates.
- Place a Burner mining drill onto an Iron ore resource field. This is a silvery patch that is fairly common.
- Place a Furnace directly in front of the output (press Alt to show output arrow), so that the miner outputs the ore into the furnace, which can receive on any side.
- Fill both the miner and the furnace with Fuel, such as coal or logs.
- Wait. After a few seconds, the first piece of Iron plate is smelted and available for collection. Either collect it manually, or pull it out with an inserter.
This entire process is commonly referred to as 'smelting'. Copper ore must also be smelted.
Crafting of Items can be automated. To automatically craft items, place a Assembling machine, and select the recipe. Note that if the recipe is complicated enough, higher tiers of assembling machines may be necessary. Then, place all requested ingredients into the input slots, and the assembling machine should craft the item. Note that unlike manual crafting, each step of the craft requires another assembly machine. For example, crafting a lamp requires a machine to make copper cable, a machine to make iron sticks, a machine to make electronic circuits, etc. Assembly machines cannot automatically chain-craft like the player.
To keep up continuous production ingredients must be provided via belts and Inserters. The manufactured items can also be extracted by Inserters and are then available for further usage elsewhere in the factory.