Our subject module will be a Medium Remote Armor Repairer II. I decided I wanted six of these to fit on two T1 Exequrors. Unfortunately for me, the Jita price of these modules has been greatly increased in recent weeks likely due to speculation and demand. Fitting a single Exequror with three of them costs some 10-11 million ISK. That struck me as rather ridiculously expensive for a T1 cruiser. I was curious if I could do it cheaper myself...
You will need:
- a research POS;
- a character with at least Amarr Encryption Methods IV, Mechanical Engineering IV, and Nanite Engineering IV;
- a character with at least Laboratory Operation III, and preferably at least Scientific Networking I;
- a character with Industry V, Mechanical Engineering I, and Nanite Engineering I;
- one or (ideally) two copies of the Medium Remote Armor Repairer I BPO;
- one or two copies of the R.A.M. - Armor/Hull Tech BPO;
- one or two copies of the Nanoelectrical Microprocessor BPO;
- one Occult Data Interface;
- 12 Datacore - Mechanical Engineering and 12 Datacore - Nanite Engineering;
- (optional) six Medium 'Arup' Remote Bulwark Reconstruction modules;
- a stock of standard minerals, including all eight types;
- a stock of Robotics; and,
- stocks of Nanotransistors, Phenolic Composites, and Tungsten Carbide.
Constructing any T2 module or item in the game requires substantial investment in pre-work time and research. In particular, most T2 items require a T1 item of the same type, which is consumed as part of the build process. This encourages T2 inventor/builders to have highly-researched copies of the T1 BPOs that will be needed. In addition, in order to simultaneously (a) make copies of the T1 BPO; and, (b) build the required modules from a T1 BPO, a second T1 BPO for the item will also need to be procured since a BPO being copied is unavailable for manufacturing.
Each T2 BPO also requires the output of one or more specialty blueprints. As noted a little later, these are usually one Robotic Assembly Module, or R.A.M., and the advanced materials constructed from raw moon materials. If you intend to get into broad T2 manufacturing, it is in your best interests to acquire two copies of every R.A.M. BPO and at least one copy of every advanced material blueprint and research all of them as well.
Except for locations in null-sec or deep low-sec, all research slots are in use weeks in advance. This even applies to many slots in low and null. And if you're going to do T2 inventing and manufacturing in earnest, you're going to two or three dozen research slots for several months. What this means in practice is that you will need to establish a POS somewhere with Mobile Labs or Advanced Mobile Labs. Once established, you can use the labs in these slots to research all of the BPOs that you're going to need. BPOs for the purpose of manufacture will need to be researched for both Manufacturing Efficiency and Production Efficiency. BPOs for the express purpose of making copies (see below) need not be researched.
In practical terms, to research the BPOs for all sub-cap mods, ammo, and rigs, will take about fifteen months assuming five Mobile Labs and three to four research characters each with an average of nine research slots (set by Laboratory Operation and Advanced Laboratory Operation skill) to use those labs to their fullest. What fraction of the total items you wish to research will obviously cut that time down considerably.
Step One: Invention
For the invention process, you'll need several maximum-run copies of the T1 MRAR BPC. Each BPC is consumed by the invention process. Each run of the invention process also requires datacores. The type of datacore varies depending on the BPC. For the MRAR, the proper datacores are Mechanical Engineering and Nanite Engineering. You need two of each datacore per BPC; we'll be using six T1 BPCs, so you'll need 12 of each datacore.
The invention process is heavily dependent on the Amarr Encryption Methods, Mechanical Engineering, and Nanite Engineering skills of the character performing invention. Mods are easier to invent than ships; if all three skills are at Level V, the chance of each invention cycle being successful approaches 50%. This can be increased slightly by sacrificing one meta item of the BPO type to be invented per invention cycle. The higher the meta of the item sacrificed, the greater the increase in the invention chance but the maximum increase is only a few percent. Medium 'Arup' Remote Bulwark Reconstruction modules are fairly high meta and relatively cheap (about 200-250k ISK each as of this writing) and might be worth sacrificing.
In some cases, decryptors -- a specialized type of invention item -- can also be sacrificed to increase successful invention chances, or to increase the ME or PE of the resulting BPC. However, decryptors are several million ISK each and so the cost/benefit for using them has to be closely considered. In this case, there are no decryptors that are worth the expense they add to this invention process:
- Using one of the MRAR BPOs, make six maximum-run copies. This will take 22 hours and 30 minutes.
- Place the datacores and the Occult Data Interface in a Mobile Lab or Advanced Mobile Lab at a POS.
- If desired, place the six Medium 'Arup' Remote Bulwark Reconstruction modules in the Lab.
- Run the Invention process on all six BPCs. If desired, select the meta MRARs as an optional component of the process.
- This will take one hour and 15 minutes per BPC and each BPC must be invented separately.
- Depending on the inventor's character skills, you will be rewarded with (likely) between two and four T2 MRAR BPCs (likely, three). They will appear in the Lab.
Step Two: Build
Each BPC invented will be ME -4 and PE -4 by default. Each BPC will have a certain number of runs by default. For most modules, this is 10: the BPC will be a 10-run BPC. BPCs cannot be improved through research (which is exclusively for BPOs). At this point, the build process begins. This build process assumes that you received three BPCs from the previous step's invention process and will therefore be building 30 MRAR2s.
Most T2 blueprints require five things:
- a T1 item of the type to be converted into T2;
- a stock of minerals above and beyond the minerals required for the T1 item which always includes at least some morphite;
- a "robotic assembly module", or R.A.M. (RAM hereafter), which will be partially consumed;
- some type of advanced material produced from moon materials; and,
- some type of mid-tier material produced from planetary interaction.
For the purposes of this short guide, I will assume you will have the stock of Robotics you need and will be buying raw moon materials to produce the Nanoelectrical Microprocessors yourself. This cuts out one layer of "middle-man" and allows you to secure that small resulting profit for yourself at the expense of using one manufacturing line. As of this writing, Nanoelectrical Microprocessors are about 33k per unit. The materials to produce one cost 28k per unit. Buying them instead of producing them yourself will deduct 500,000 ISK from your profit for this job.
RAMs are required by most T2 blueprints and like faction or T2 laser or mining crystals, are partially consumed as part of their use. In this case, a stock of Armor/Hull Tech models will be needed, and each run of the BPC to produce one MRAR2 will consume 20% of the associated RAM. As a result, one RAM will be consumed per five MRAR2s produced, and each 10-run BPC will consume two RAMs. You'll therefore need six of them for this job.
However, most large-scale producers of T2 items will keep a stock of RAMs over and above their day-to-day needs. The reason for this is the build process assumes that RAMs will be 100% consumed even if they will not be. As a result, attempting to build all 10 runs of a 10-run BPC will demand 10 RAMs, even though only two will actually be consumed. You will therefore need sufficient RAMs that 10 RAMs are available when you begin the construction of the last 10-run BPCs (consuming two), which means when construction is complete, you will be left with eight leftover RAMs which can either be reprocessed or saved for the next job.
Again, RAMs can be purchased on the market if you wish to save manufacturing slots. The materials to produce one cost about 55k per unit. As of this writing, they cost about 85k per unit. Buying them instead of producing them yourself will deduct 180,000 ISK from your profit for this job.
- Using one of the MRAR BPOs and your stock of minerals, produce 30 Medium Remote Armor Repairer I modules. This will take between eight and ten hours.
- Using a Nanoelectrical Microprocessor BPO and your stock of Nanotransistors, Phenolic Composites, and Tungsten Carbide, produce 90 Nanoelectrical Microprocessors. This will take between three and four hours and can be done concurrently with the previous step.
- Using a R.A.M. - Armor/Hull Tech BPO and your stock of minerals, produce 14 R.A.M.s. This will take about seven hours and can be done concurrently with the previous two steps.
- Once the three steps above are complete, you may begin building each of the 10 runs from your three 10-run BPCs. This will take about ten hours for the full run, and all three BPCs may be built from concurrently.
Not counting the costs of BPOs, the Occult Data Interface, or POS fuel, your total costs for this job as of this writing are as follows:
- 12 Datacore - Mechanical Engineering: 1.14 million ISK.
- 12 Datacore - Nanite Engineering: 1.36 million ISK.
- Minerals for 30 MRAR1s: 740,000 ISK.
- Minerals for six R.A.M. - Armor/Hull Tech: 332,000 ISK.
- Materials for 90 Nanoelectrical Microprocessors: 2.52 million ISK.
- Additional minerals for 30 MRAR2s: 1.39 million ISK.
- 240 Robotics: 18.0 million ISK.(1)
- (optional) six Medium 'Arup' Remote Bulwark Reconstruction modules: 1.5 million ISK.(2)
...though it takes a lot of work, time, and a substantial investment in ISK and preparatory work!
One final thought: somewhere out there are several owners of original T2 BPOs for the Medium Remote Armor Repair II module. These lucky individuals have many advantages over those of us that have to complete the invention cycle instead. Chief among those advantages is the total lack of need for a POS. Without the need to pay for POS fuel, their profit margin increases.
Once researched, these T2 BPOs can generate T2 modules much more quickly than inventors can, limited only market demand. In our invention cycle above, the minimum time needed to generate those 30 MRAR2s is 34 hours, assuming every step above that can be run concurrently is run concurrently and there is zero lost time between the multiple steps (unlikely). The T2 BPO holder can produce the same 30 MRARs in 26 hours, in only one step. The T2 BPO holder also benefits from the ability to research his or her BPO, reducing material costs. For a T2 BPO holder, the total cost per unit is 720,000 ISK per unit. This cost advantage gives the T2 BPO holder the opportunity to substantially under-cut the inventor's price -- potentially below the inventor's cost! -- and still make a profit. This allows T2 BPO holders to periodically drive all of the inventors out of their market entirely, then drive the price back up...
There's a reason that T2 industrialists rather despise T2 BPO holders and wish those BPOs would disappear.
I hope this "short" guide has been useful to you!
(1) The high cost of this PI product makes this one of the very few T2 items whose overall value isn't set by the value of technetium.
(2) Using these might result in a fourth successful BPC invention, or might be used to ensure the success of three inventions by lower-skilled characters.