The Best Way To Make Easy Money In No Man's Sky

No Man's Sky is a game that has a lot (a LOT a lot) of stuff to see, do, and unlock — from your own autonomous mech suit to entire alien settlements you can manage, and beyond — but in order to experience most of it you need three things: time, crafting materials, and Units. Lots and lots of units. If you want to buy a new starship without having to spend resources fixing up something you found at a crash site, take command of a freighter and manage a small fleet of frigates, or upgrade your stuff without relying on random component drops, money is key.

Especially in the early game where you'll typically have, at most, a couple hundred thousand units on-hand when you'll really want tens of millions.

Depending on your environment there are a few ways to farm for cash when you're starting out, like gathering platinum from asteroid belts (the crystalize structures hiding among the typical-looking space rocks) or visiting a sentinel-heavy planet where valuable Gravitino Balls are scattered around the landscape like shells on a beach. But while effective, these methods require a fair bit of time and effort to maintain. Not ideal when you want to also explore the galaxy and, you know, actually experience more of what the game has to offer.

Which is where automated mining comes in.

Getting started

Accessing the ability to set up an automated mining facility does take some time (roughly three to six hours of playtime in a new game, depending on how quickly you push forward and how well you stay on task), so it's not a quick solution if you're just starting out, but once it gets set up it's a fairly effortless way to make millions every time you start the game up.

First, you'll want to speed through the tutorial sections as quickly as possible until you can access The Anomaly. Also make sure you're gathering as much Ferrite Dust, Copper (which you'll need to turn into Chromatic Metal with a Refiner), Nanites, and Salvaged Data as you can find while working your way through your early tasks. This will all be extremely important for your setup.

You can sometimes earn Nanites by completing tasks for various NPCs or by interacting with some environmental objects in buildings, but the most reliable way to get them is from Damaged Machinery. Similarly, once you have the Terrain Manipulator attachment for your MutliTool (which you should acquire part way through the tutorial segments), you'll want to keep an eye out for Buried Technology Modules as they're where you'll find Salvaged Data.

If you follow the game's instructions up to this point, you should at least have access to everything you need to set up your first mine. Though having access doesn't necessarily mean you'll be able to unlock everything you need right away.

What you'll need

You'll need a minimum of 21 Salvaged Data and 440 Nanites for the most basic setup, but if you want to have a truly hands-off mine that you won't have to regularly refuel you'll actually want to save up a total of 39 Salvaged Data.

Go to the Anomaly's Construction Research Station, which is sitting between the starship and exosuit stations, and use Salvaged Data to get the Mineral Extractor (10), Supply Pipe (1), and Supply Depot (10). You could stop there if you don't mind using a Biofuel Reactor (which would have been unlocked via the tutorial by now) to power your equipment, but it will require a lot of resources (carbon, oxygen, etc) to keep it running and if it goes empty all activity will stop.

If you want everything to take care of itself, you'll also need to get the Solar Panel (8) in order to unlock and get the Electromagnetic Generator (10). Or you can skip the generator and unlock the battery (3) instead and use that in conjunction with Solar Panels, but the generator is really the most effective power source.

Then visit Eos at the MultiTool upgrade station and spend Nanites to unlock plans for the Waveform Recycler (120) in order to unlock and buy plans for the Survey Device (320). Then be sure to actually install the Survey Device into your MultiTool (1 Quantum Computer, 2 Wiring Loom, 3 Magnetic Resonator).

Setting up a basic mine

Now comes the fun part, where you get to wander around a planet's surface and survey the area for mineral deposits and electromagnetic fields. You'll only be able to scan for these things when you're on foot, so you might need to leapfrog around in your ship a few times before you find a good spot. Use the Survey Device (pull up your scanner and select it) to find a mineral deposit by following readout. Once discovered you'll be able to find the location again with your regular scanner so don't worry if you lose track of it during construction.

Set up a Base Computer (30 Chromatic Metal) and establish a base somewhere around a distance of 300u from the mineral deposit, because otherwise you won't be able to build any of the necessary structures and you need to make sure the place you want to mine is within your base's borders. Then go back to the mineral deposit and build a Mineral Extractor (5 Metal Plating, 100 Chromatic Metal) on the site. Try to build at least one or two Supply Depots (10 Metal Plating each) as well so that your extractor can store more than a mere 250 of what it's mining. Don't forget to attach the depot(s) to the extractor with Supply Pipes (25 Ferrite Dust and 10 Carbon each)!

Then you just have to set up a power source like the Biofuel Reactor (1 Metal Plating, 25 Oxygen), connect it to the Mineral Extractor, and fuel it up.

A slightly better option

Having to constantly check in on your mine to refuel the reactor isn't the best way to go about it, however. A better and more hands-off setup requires a little more prep, but it will give you the freedom to leave your mine alone for hours (days, weeks, etc) at a time and go exploring.

After setting up your base and extractor, build a battery (60 Magnetized Ferrite, 100 Condensed Carbon) or two — preferably two or three — nearby and attach them to the extractor. The more you have, the more power will be stored for later and the smaller the chance of running out of juice during "off hours."

And then comes the Solar Panel (1 Metal Plating, 30 Gold, 50 Chromatic Metal). Or preferably a couple of Solar Panels. One will likely be enough to simply power the extractor, but each panel you build and connect increases the rate at which the batteries will charge. Which in-turn makes it more likely for your batteries to reach a full charge before daylight hours are over (Solar Panels stop working at night).

The best option

Or, if you'd prefer to use fewer overall resources compared to the solar panel and battery route but still want a virtually limitless source of power, you'll want to build that Electromagnetic Generator (2 Metal Plating, 60 Magnetized Ferrite, 75 Chromatic Metal).

This works much the same way as before, except you'll want to use the Survey Device to look for electromagnetic fields before looking for mineral deposits. This is because most fields are close to deposits, but not all deposits are close to fields. You'll need to survey and locate both, then ideally build your Base Computer roughly between the two sites to make sure they're both inside your base's territory.

Once you've constructed both the Electromagnetic Generator and the Mineral Extractor, just connect them and you're all set. Since the generator never stops running you won't have to worry about building any batteries. Supply Depots (which you should still also definitely build and connect to your extractor) don't require power.

And that's it! Your mine is complete and will stockpile minerals for you on its own on an hourly basis. You can examine your extractor to see exactly what type of mineral deposit you're mining, as well as how much per hour it's extracting. All you have to do is check in from time to time and toss the materials into your inventory, then visit a space station or trading post to sell everything.

Extra tips

  • Different minerals sell for different amounts (Salt is particularly valuable), but they'll all make you a fair bit of money when collected en-masse.
  • Invest in a lot of Supply Depots. The more depots you have the more minerals your mine can stockpile, and the longer it will run before filling up. This leaves you more time to do whatever else you want and will net you a larger payday when you go back to collect.
  • Stockpile as much Ferrite Dust as you can. It's necessary to make Metal Plates, and you need a lot of Metal Plates to make most of your mining equipment — particularly Supply Depots, which break down to 500 Ferrite Dust each (50 per plate).
  • Mine Copper whenever you can while working your way up to the Anomaly. You'll need a lot of Chromatic Metal too, and putting Copper in a Portable Refiner is the best way to collect it. You can also buy Chromatic Metal, but the goal here is to make money.
  • If you're waiting for Chromatic Metal to refine, gather Ferrite Dust. Seriously, you'll need a ridiculous amount of the stuff so no amount is too much. Put that downtime to good use and stockpile as much as you think you could possibly need — then stockpile more.
  • Salvaged Data does sell for a lot of Units, but it's time consuming to gather and you'll need it to unlock the right items. At the same time, it would be decent supplemental income once you've unlocked everything.