Every shift costs you about 500 grand (at least until you can buy your stuff instead of having to rent it and until you can pay off your debt sensibly to cut the interest). So those 15 minutes have to pay at the very least 500 grand to make it worth your while.
Also, every second costs you oxygen and thruster fuel, you will also use up tethers. In general, you will need about 15-20 tethers per Mack and have to get a new load of oxygen about once or twice (depending on O2 bottles you find in the ship). You may assume that consumables will run you 20-25 grand per shift.
To lower costs, it pays to spend five or ten seconds to first look around the ship with the scanner for objects. Buy the objects scan upgrade and look for pink items. They are your consumables. Especially, look for those elusive keys that may float about the ship, that key alone is worth 50 grand becuase if it’s not here, you have to buy it for the med/hard Macks and for the Geckos. You might get away without it, but the risk and the time consumed is not worth 50k.
As you can see, money is rather secondary. Your main asset is time. Anything you can buy to save time is worth it. If you have 5 tethers left and have to return for O2 to the shop, get some tethers as well instead of having to go back halfway through your O2 to get some. Time > anything else.
This also means that you want to buy all upgrades that give you more O2, more thruster fuel and more tethers, because you always buy “to the max” at the shop, and the price stays the same, no matter how much “max” is. And of course, fewer trips to the shop means more time you can spend on cutting.
The price list
Airlock Console: 45,000
Atmosphere Regulator: 48,000
Class I Reactor: 500,000
Class I Reactor Plate: 30/kg (~9,000/piece)
Computer Terminal: 40,000
Coolant Tank: 180/kg (~50kg/piece -> ~10,000/piece)
Door Console: 24,000
Fuel Tank (orange): 180/kg (~17,000/piece)
Personal Terminal: 30,000
Power Cell: 99,000
Thruster Cap: 46,500
Thruster I: 195,000
How to determine what’s worth salvaging?
Looking at that list, Nanocarbon doesn’t look so stellar. 45 creds per kilo, that’s not much. While true on paper, Nanocarbon will be in the end the one position that will amount to about a third of your total income, simply by volume. On the other hand, this will also be what keeps you busy for the most time. What we’re looking for is as much money for as little time as possible. We already established that tethers don’t factor into the equation (even without any upgrades, a tether costs about 800 credits) so the only resource we will care about is time.
By far the best time/money ratio you will get out of the Nacelles. With the easy ships, all you have to do is slice them off the ship and tether them into the barge, which should take you less than 10 seconds. They lose a bit of that with the med/hard ships when you have to get inside and maybe even behind side covers to get to the cut points, but you want to make sure that you have them cut at the end.
Another quick win. Grab them, chuck them, take home 18 grand.
Of course, you MUST salvage the reactor. This piece pays for your expenses, everything you salvage beyond the reactor is profit. This is fairly easy to do, cut away the bottom below the reactor, attach a tether to it and yank it directly into the barge. Easy money. Once you’re inside, this is mayb 15 seconds of work. YOU MUST SALVAGE THIS!
Sometimes the reactor is placed on the side of the cockpit. That means you have to do a lot more cutting to get it, but it changes little. YOU MUST SALVAGE THIS!
Thruster and Cap
Get behind the ship, pull off (or at med/hard cut free) the cap, chuck it into the blue processor, then pull the thruster out and tether it into the barge. 15-30 seconds of work, almost 250 grand.
Door consoles, airlock consoles and atmosphere regulators
They have of course vastly different functions, but to us, they’re basically all the same: Small, easy to pull free and worth rather much. As soon as you have vented the ship and opened all doors (and not earlier!) pull free every single one of them you come across and chuck them down into the barge. This is literally 25-48k for a second of work.
Clearing out the cargo bay
Whether it’s a station hopper or a freighter, thrusting everything in the cargo bay into the barge should be a priority. If it’s filled with junk, this can take a minute, but it’s well worth it. Cut off the floor panels (and tether them to the processor), then push the contents down into the barge. Depending on what’s in the ship, this can be worth anywhere between 100 and 400k.
Clearing out the cockpit
Clearing the cockpit takes longer than the cargo because you have to pull the stuff through the cockpit door (or, if you first cut it off and remove the door, at least through the opening there, but I usually just pull it through the door, it’s big enough), but it’s worth it. What you have at any rate is seats and terminals worth about 250k, plus some other tidbits and potentially power cells or regulators that push it to 300k. You have to be careful with some of those, though.
These are the “must do” things and will make up the bulk of your income. Doing this should take you, if you’re experienced, no more than maybe 7-8 minutes and will net you about 2 millions. So even if you ONLY do that and dump the rest of the ship, you’ll be up 1.5 millions per shift.
A gem in the dirt (or: Surprisingly valuable, and worthless, items)
Two things that you want to salvage even though at first you wouldn’t notice them is the glass in the cockpit and the doors.
The glass in the cockpit is worth 600/kg. And there is a surprisingly large amount of it. This cockpit glass is worth about 50 grand. All you have to do is make 4 cuts and chuck it into the furnace, making it the only item that’s really worth smelting.
Try to float to the left to align yourself with the left edge of the glass and aim for the middle of it with your cutter showing up the whole length of the glass pane (make sure that dotted red line goes ALL the way from top to bottom. Then float to the right until you do the same with the right edge. Flip the cutter around 90 degrees (right click) and cut bottom and top. This should allow you to move it. Grab it, float out of the cockpit with it (just float through the hole the window left) turn around and chuck it into the furnace. 30 seconds of work, 50k profit (give or take, depending on how you cut it).
Doors are more a “if there’s time left and you have nothing left to do” thing. 24 grand (remember: All doors are double doors, so it’s 2 each) per door isn’t great money, but it’s better than smelting them with the rest of the husk. What you want to do here is to cut the bottom under the door and to the side (use the scanner to see where the door is), and don’t care about the aluminium floating away, it’s mostly worthless anyway. Cut the top over the door, then at the side left or right beyond the door. One side is enough to make the door fly towards you. If it doesn’t come out, cut some more in the middle of the door. You only have to cut free one side of the door and both doors will come free. It takes a while to learn how to cut it, but once you got it it takes maybe 5 seconds to cut a door free and another 5 to catch it and chuck it into the processor for 24k.
What’s utterly worthless on the other hand is lights. They don’t look so bad on paper, they’re small and while not too valuable, they are at least quick to chuck and they are numerous. Their fatal flaw is that it takes a horribly long time to pull them free. It literally takes SECONDS for them to come off their socket. Even the reactor is pulled faster from its housing. And all that for 1k money. Not worth salvaging.
An efficient trip around the Macky
It’s very possible to cut down a Mackerel in a single shift, at the very least to cut it at least to the point where you get 2 millions out of it (and you can safely dump the rest, it’s not like forfeiting the rest of the ship had any huge negative impact, at least none that warrants spending another 500k on a shift). There are a few things to keep in mind before starting.
You gotta spend money to make money. As said, time is premium here and everything you can buy to save time is worth it. So buy that key if you don’t happen to have one and use it, buy tethers and use them liberally, it’s literally cheaper to use a tether than to spend 10 second aligning an item so you can push it, or even trying to pull it with the grabber. To do the math, you have 900 seconds worth of time in a shift and we can make about 3,000,000 in that time. Conservatively calculating, this means every second is worth 1,000 dollars. A single second saved paid for a tether, and you got change back.
Also, make sure you use every trip to the buying station to buy everything. Top off your tethers and fuel when you come for oxygen, nothing frustrates more than to run out of tethers with 200 seconds of oxy remaining so you come back too early. Oxygen is usually the thing that forces you to the refuel station, so try to make sure that it’s the only thing that forces you to waste time going there and back.
Also, the line cutter is in general a better tool than the precision stinger when it comes to cutting cutpoints. Most cutpoints in the Mackerel are in front of Nanocarbon panels that you cannot cut with a non-upgraded cutter (and I highly recommend not buying the upgrade that lets you cut nanocarbon for that very reason), so you can safely cut them without damaging any of the valuable salvage. Look at the red dotted line it displays, if it is only displayed on the cut point, cut away. If it shows up around it, the panel behind it is made of aluminium and you might want to use the stinger instead for this cut point. This may also apply to the cutpoints that attach the cockpit and the ones that attach the thruster backend. If you care about the alu casing, which we generally dont. Be VERY careful when cutting with the line cutter near fuel tanks, power cells or coolant tanks (and of course the reactor), you DO NOT want to touch them with your cutter. When in doubt, use the stinger.
Also note that the character is right handed. It can happen that you aim at a cut point with the fuel tank on the right side of the screen, you activate the cutter and the beam touches the tank without you aiming at it because the beam comes from your right hand. Always make sure that delicate objects are at the left side of your screen (devs? How about an ambidextrous upgrade that lets you switch hands? Just an idea…).
Now on with the show.
Starting off and getting in
First, hit escape and check whether you have at least one utility key. If you don’t, use the kiosk and buy one. Yes, they cost 50k. Yes, they’re worth that much.
Grab the Macky with your grabber (fly there a few feet if you don’t have the range upgrade yet, then grab it as soon as you can attach yourself) and pull yourself towards it. Careful, don’t overdo it, make sure you have enough room to brake. You’ll eventually get the hang of it after ending up as a squishy bug on the windshield a few times.
Look for antennas. Grab them, hold the grabbing tool for the time it takes the square to fill (the time it takes to “detach” it), swing it around the ship and thrust it down into the barge. Repeat for every other antenna you see. If it’s an “easy” Macky, you can now also cut off the nacelles. Fly to them, discover the cut point (use the scanner if you have to), then use the splitsaw to cut along it (watch that the red dotted line ONLY appears on the cut point or you have found an alu panel that could get damaged, this would lead to depressurization and get ugly!). As soon as the nacelle is floating, attach a tether to it, attach the other end of the tether to the barge below (don’t worry about the nacelle maybe hitting the ship on its way down, it’s sturdy). Repeat with the other nacelle if it’s there, then go to the other side of the ship and repeat the process.
While you’re doing this, also check out what side the entrance to the ship is located at and go in. If there are any “rails” or other stuff attached to the outside, ignore them for now. We needn’t cut them, they go with the hull they’re attached to into the processor later, so why bother with it now?
Go in, go through the airlock to the inside. Look over the door for the airlock console and use it to vent the ship, then open the door from the inside again. You should now sit in an unpressurized ship with all doors open, i.e. you can look into the cockpit, you can look through the airlock outside and if you look to the back, you either see a white door (if it’s a passenger ship) or the back of the ship with the reactor (in an easy ship or if it’s a cargo hauler), possibly with a lot of junk floating in here or some seats.
Turn on your scanner and switch over to object mode (if you have it, if not, skip this part for now). Look for pink objects. You’re especially interested in a tiny pink object that’s a key with a tag. This thing is worth 50 grand, and you want to find it. It’s not around in every ship (in about half of them, I’d say), but if it’s there, make sure you grab it. If you don’t have the object scanner, keep your eyes open for floating objects, if you can grab it, grab it.
This is also the moment when you want to grab every repair kit that hangs on a wall. Leave the O2 and thruster fuel bottles for now and use them as you run out of O2 (especially if you still have a few tethers left), same for fuel bottles when your thruster fuel is depleting. Other pink objects may be data files and mails floating in the ship, you can grab them (pick them up by pressing f when close enough) and read them back at the habitat between shifts.
Clearing out the cargo area
First thing you want to do is cut off the floor. The floor consists of 2-3 panels, each attached by a cut point at the left and right side. Check again if you properly depressurized the ship, then cut them with the splitsaw. As usual, make sure that the red dotted line ONLY appears on the cut point!
The cutpoints may be hidden under seats if it’s a passenger ship. Once you cut them, give the plates a push with F. There may be cargo attached to them, you should now first pull that cargo off with your grabber and push it down into the barge, then attach a tether to the plates and the other end to the processor. Visually make sure that the plates are actually nanocarbon (should be displayed at the bottom when you point at them, along with a hint that they belong into the processor). Sometimes, a panel is made of aluminium instead of nanocarbon (but you usually notice that earlier, when cutting, because you slice through the panel as well).
Now that the bottom of the ship is open, you can grab and push the contents of the cargo area down into the barge as well. For efficiency, it is usually a good idea to float back up into the cargo area, up to the ceiling, then work from there. Now you can grab/push everything in the cargo area with minimal movement necessary on your part.
While we’re here, we do what we did to the floor to the ceiling as well. The ceiling also has the same cut points as the floor did, though here the frontmost panel might belong into the barge instead of the processor (in general it will be white if it does). Again, pointing at it and looking at the item description along with the info where it belongs at the bottom of the screen helps.
If we’re dealing with a passenger ship, there will now also be a white door separating the passenger area from the reactor space (in a cargo ship, there will be no door). Make sure you’re stationary before grabbing that white door, holding the grabber a long while (it takes a second or two to dislocate the door), then carefully pull it towards you. The reason you want to be perfectly stationary is that if that door slides into the reactor room, getting it out is a bit of a hassle. You want to pull that carefully to you, then push it into the processor, so we finally have access to the reactor.
It’s surprisingly easy to salvage the reactor. First, check if there’s a computer console underneath it. If there is, use a key in it. If you don’t have one, you should have bought one from the kiosk.
Cut the floor panel loose and give it a push. Pull the console off it and chuck it into the barge, then tether the panel to the processor. Now the space under the reactor is free and there’s a straight line from the reactor to the barge. Fly out of the ship and make sure you have a bit of a distance between you and the way the reactor will take when it’s going down into the barge. Then tether the reactor to the barge below. Don’t even yank it out, the tether will take care of that.
That takes care of the reactor and you just made 500k.
Now cut free the top panel that held the reactor (again, 1 cut point each on the left and right side of the panel), push it up, tether it to the processor.
The bridge section is mostly very easy unless there’s something special in it. If there’s not, it’s basically floating in the cargo area, reaching into the bridge section with your grabber, grabbing something, pulling it free, tapping the right mouse button once or twice while holding the item with your grabber to pull it carefully towards you, angling your view down to the barge and chucking the item. Rinse, repeat about 10 or 15 times and you made 200k. Don’t forget the atmosphere regulator and the door console!
If there’s a power converter, a battery or something other “special” in the bridge, it gets a bit more tricky. The general idea is the same, but these things tend to be delicate. Be VERY careful when dislocating it to not move your mouse while you hold them to detach them, then pull them out VERY carefully (maybe rather move yourself rather than using the right-click reel) and especially with the volatile power box make sure they don’t get too close to you, especially if you don’t have your electricity protection leveled. A radio on the fritz sure plays havoc with your sanity.
Once the bridge is empty, float in and cut out the window. Float to the left, cut the left side, repeat with the right side, flip the splitsaw around 90 degree and repeat on top and bottom. Grab the window as soon as it is loose, float out through it while holding the window, turn around and chuck it into the furnace.
No later than now, even if you’re very efficient, your oxygen will run low. If there’s an O2 bottle in the ship, use it, if not, get some more from the kiosk. If you have 5 or less tethers now, get some more of them, too.
When you’re done with that, float out of the bridge into the cargo area and cut away the 4 cutpoints attaching the bridge to the rest of the ship. While you’re here, also chuck the door consoles of the bridge and the airlock. Don’t forget the console inside the airlock.
Next, get behind the Mackerel. You will see the grey thruster cap. Either you can grab it and pull it off (with easy Mackys) or it will have two cut points to its left and right side. You DO want to cut them with the precision stinger because if you as much as TOUCH the thruster cap with your splitsaw it will become worthless junk and you just threw 46,500 into the furnace.
Once the thruster cap is free, chuck it into the processor. It is light enough to manipulate it with your grabber, but aiming it precisely into the far away processor, it’s usually easier to just tether it there.
Next, pull the thruster carefully out of its housing. With the easy ship, you have to grab and hold it for a moment to tetach it, with med/hard /where the cap was welded on), you can simply slide it out. The easiest way to do that is to be RIGHT behind the thruster and just carefully pull it towards you. As soon as it’s out of its housing, attach a tether and use it to pull it down to the barge.
Next, go back to the area where the reactor was and cut away the thruster housing by severing the four cut points holding it to the rest of the husk.
Cockpit, part 2
By now, the cockpit probably already floated a few yards away from the rest of the ship. If not, give it a gentle push from the inside. Careful, pushing the door may well send it flying! Push the frame, not the door! If your push is not strong enough, you can tether it up to a Jax. Attach a tether to the cockpit and to the Jax, and as soon as it starts moving, press V to destroy the tether or the cockpit will fly about wildly.
If the door section actually comes loose, grab it and chuck it into the processor. If not, no biggie, since the whole section will eventually go into the processor.
Check the sides of the cockpit. If you find any power cells or other goodies there (there’s even a chance that the reactor is here instead of back where it should be!), we will have to detach the sides. Use your splitsaw to (CAREFULLY!) cut the 4 cutpoints that attach the sides.
Here, you may also encounter the gree cut guards. It will take an upgraded pusher to “blow” that guard away (press and hold F while having the grappler activated). Make absolutely sure that the splitsaw does NOT come even close to the valuable items, best would be that they are not even visible when you engage the splitsaw, at any rate you should make sure that the course the splitsaw takes does not intersect with the item. It’s absolutely possible to cut the cutpoints with the splitsaw running along them, there’s no immediate need to cut “through” them.
As soon as the 4 cutpoints are gone, attach a tether to the side element and use it to drag it into the processor.
Now you can easily grab the valuable item (or attach a tether to it in the case of the reactor) and move it that way into the barge.
If there is nothing valuable to the side of the cockpit, just attach two tethers to the whole section and have them drag the whole block into the processor. Else, do so after you cut the sides off and have everything valuable stripped.
Side sections (and tossing that aft section)
Now it’s time to cut away the sides of the ship. Get into the space between the outer hull and the cargo space, run along the bottom of the ship and cut free all the cutpoints here.
On the side of the airlock, cut away the two cutpoints that run left-right that hold the airlock in place and don’t forget the one additional cutpoint that’s a little hidden that runs alongside the ship. Every airlock is held by 6 cutpoints, 3 at the bottom, 3 at the top. Make sure you get them all.
In a med/hard ship, there is also a fuel line running along the top here. Do not cut that yet. Get all the way to the back of the ship (while cutting the cutpoints along the bottom), then switch off the fuel (there’s a handle above the fuel tank, get close to it and press F to switch it off).
In a med/hard ship, this is also where you can finally cut the nacelles free, look towards the outside when you reach the fuel tank, there should be two cut points that hold the nacelles in place.
Once you have shut off the fuel (grab the pipe with your hand pressing X or Z to make sure, if you don’t hear a “whooshing” sound anymore when you touch them, you successfully shut them off. Also, the lights on the fuel line should no longer be lit), you can safely cut the pipe. Cut the pipe that runs towards the nacelles (if there is one) with your splitsaw, then cut the pipes at every section (where the “seam” between the sections is) to cut them loose.
Now attach a tether to every section and let them get pulled into the processor. Tether the airlock to the barge, then chuck the fuel tank down into the barge as well (in an easy ship, you first have to pull the fuel tank free from the back panel, in med/high, they now float freely).
Repeat with the other side, then attach two tethers to the aft section and drag it into the processor.
We’re almost done. Check both sides of every doorway now for leftover door consoles and chuck them down into the barge, if there’s more than a minute left now you can cut free the doors and push them into the processor,.
else attach the rest of your tethers to the frame and let it get dragged into the furnace.
Only do that if you have a fairly current computer, the effort of processing that huge carcass may well cause your system to crash. Not kidding.
And eventually, just enjoy the money.
I only got 5 minutes left and still so much to do, should I do a second shift?
In nearly all cases: No.
Make sure you have the key elements done. If any of them are missing, ignore the rest and take care of them instead now:
3. ripped off and chucked all door consoles and air regulators
4. Thruster cap and thruster.
5. Pushed everything in the cargo bay down into the barge.
6. Took at least the seats and computers from the cockpit.
7. Salvaged all powercells that could be gotten to.
Nanocarbon is 45/kilo, but how many kilos are (insert part here)?
First, most parts are a composite of Aluminium, Titanium and Nanocarbon. Since it usually takes a lot of time to cut them apart and the alu just ain’t worth it, we chuck the whole part into the Processor and let it sort out what it can use. So yes, the cockpit consists of about 5,000 aluminium, meaning we throw away almost 70,000 credits when we put it whole into the processor, and if you work without time limit you may want to cut it apart for the aluminium in it, but it takes a good three to five minutes to cut it properly and without too much loss, so I’m generally fine with throwing it all into the Processor for about 180,000 and be done with it.
As a VERY rough estimate, just so you can gauge what’s worth going after and what you can as well safely ignore if it floats away into space.
Roofs: 100-400kg (~$4,000 – 20,000). Most are 400kg
Floors: ~400kg (~$20,000)
Side walls: ~1,300 – 1,900kg (~$58,000 – 85,000)
Airlock wall: ~1,000kg (~$45,000)
Cockpit sides: ~1,800kg (~$81,000)
Cockpit: ~4,000kg (~$180,000)
Thruster section: ~2,800kg (~$126,000)
Framework (aluminium, -> Forge): ~6.500kg (~$84,000)
In other words, if you have time for nothing else, make sure you throw the cockpit (in whole or cut apart) into the Processor, same for the Thruster compartment, and throw the rest into the forge.
I hope you enjoy the Guide we share about Hardspace: Shipbreaker – Mackerel Salvaging and Profit Guide; if you think we forget to add or we should add more information, please let us know via commenting below! See you soon!
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