I am continuing the "Where Do I Start?" series with part 3. If you haven't read the previous posts read them here: Where Do I Start: Part 1 and Where Do I Start: Part 2. I would like to now discuss what most of you have been waiting for. Manufacturing. Manufacturing is the art of taking minerals and blueprints and putting them together in a manufacturing facility to make modules, ammo, ships, components, etc. Refer back to Part 2 about blueprints to get an idea of what you can do with them and what it takes to get researched bp's for construction. Here are the various types of manufacturing and what you can expect.
- T1 manufacturing. : This encompasses modules, ammo, faction ships & deployables. You can make weapons, weapon upgrades, tanking modules, etc. Selling these items can be tricky and there are plenty of pitfalls. If you find a particular niche market, they can be a good source of income, but generally the margins are low. There are many items that will actually sell for less the minerals they require to build. Always use some sort of method to find out if they are profitable or not before taking the leap. The only time you should ever even consider building at a loss is if you need them for more advanced manufacturing and they aren't available on the market. Ammo can sell pretty well, but you need to move volume to make any headway. That means constant price adjusting to keep being the lowest sell. Very rarely are you able to sell to buy orders at a profit. If you are, do it and run. I find that certain items sell better. T1 variants with no named or very expensive named meta items sell pretty good. If you are selling T1 items on the market, tracking and understanding market trend s is a must. Lowering your operating costs buy training material efficiency 5 and training market skills (see Skills to Build On) also help you pull as much profit as possible.
- T2 component manufacturing: In order to build T2 items you will need to build or buy components. Examples of these are: Sustained Shield Emitters and LADAR Sensor Clusters. Generally they require moon goo. An expensive industry due to supply and demand, logistics and risk. Moon go can only be gathered from less secure space like null sec. I have found that a vast majority of components sell for a profit, but they tend to be slow movers in markets like Rens and Dodixie. Jita might have a high moving volume, but it also depends on what people are building. You will also come to rely on planetary interaction (PI) items. You can expect decent margins on modules (30-60% is not uncommon). I have also had luck selling to buy orders for 50% margins in certain rare instances. Paying attention to market trends helps, but the margins can be more forgiving.
- capital construction: Capital manufacturing is the pinnacle of the EVE industrialist. It takes a lot of patience and time to manufacture capital class items and ships. Recently, I built a Fenrir (freighter) which is not a bona fide capital, but it took around 20 days including the components. The cost was just under 1 billion ISK. That is a lot of capital to tie up. I was fortunate to build one and put it on the market where no one else was selling one and I got rid of it in a few days. Freighters, Orcas and Jump Freighters can be built in high sec. Carriers and dreadnoughts are a little more difficult to market. Their manufacturing cost and time are extensive. They cannot be built in high sec and your market is slim. I believe most capitals are built by and for null sec alliances. Super Capitals require sovereignty and are the height of the manufacturing profession. They take massive amounts of time and material to build and they are out of reach for most industrialists unless they are a part of a null sec bloc.
- T3 construction: I have limited experience with these, but they can also be very lucrative. It is time-intensive and it requires specialized skills, sleeper tech from WH's, moon goo, datacores, decryptors and minerals to produce. It is probably enough for it's own post. If you are interested in doing T3 production, check out sites like EVE Uni.
- station parts: Player-Owned Stations (POS) and Player-Owned Customs Offices (POCO) are manufactured the same way T1 items are. They just require extra materials like PI. The control towers use high-end advanced PI items like supercomputers and broadcast nodes. They can be quite costly, but they are solid items. Control towers take a while to sell and you can expect to tie up around 200-300 million for large control tower construction. People always need them. Also labs and other arrays are highly needed.
Hopefully that helps you chose your path by giving you more information in one spot. Manufacturing can be fun and challenging and you can do it while doing other things like missioning and exploring. Like RONCO says, "Set it and Forget it!" And as I always say, fly safe-ish.