2. Ship blueprints
3. Component blueprints (you are here)
4. Researching your blueprints
5. Moving capital blueprints safely
7. Location, location, location
8. Moving minerals
9. Actually building stuff, finally
10. Selling your ships
So you know which ships you want to build. Now you need the component blueprints to build the components so you can use the ship blueprints to build the ships. Which component blueprints? How many? Researched to what level? Help!
Here's a table of which components are required for which ships, how much they cost, and where you can find them.
EDIT 2014-5-24: The naglfar no longer uses the launcher hardpoint component.
That's not the whole story, though. Ships use more of some components than others, so you are likely to need duplicates of the most common blueprints in order to build efficiently. How many and of which blueprint depends on your selection of ship blueprints, but the method to work out how many components you need is as follows:
-Make a spreadsheet.
-Make a list of how many components of each type are required to build all your ships.
-In a second column, list how many component blueprints of each type to get.
-A third column is set to equal the number in the first column, divided by the number in the second column, multiplied by 2.866, divided by 24. This is how many days it will take to build the components for all your ships (with component PE 20).
What you want to do then is adjust the number in the second column so that the number in the third column is 10-ish. Maybe a little more if your ship blueprints are heavy on rorquals, since they take longer to build than carriers or dreads.
Confused yet? Good. This tool is included in my spreadsheet (see part 6 of this guide). Here's how it will look for someone building one of each carrier and dread, plus a rorqual, all at optimal ME:
By the way, it's okay if you have a few more total blueprints than manufacturing slots. You'll always need fewer of some components than others, so some runs will be shorter and the blueprints will have some downtime. It's like overbooking an airplane flight, except you only have yourself to be angry at when things go horribly wrong.
What material level should you research components to? Up to you, but here's a table with build costs and savings for a rorqual at different levels of component research. This is from before crucible, and today all the cost and savings numbers will be twice as large.
I decided to go with ME100. It's a nice round number, and also happens to be a sweet spot for reselling component blueprints on contracts when you decide to get rid of them.
Production efficiency level:
Okay, how about production efficiency?
Here's a table with time per run and time savings at several PE levels.
I went with PE20.
Go to part 4: Researching your blueprints