Making ships is just part of the big picture of Industry as a whole, but it seems to be one of the most important branches of it. After all, EVE is a game about spaceships. While many people claim EVE is no longer an Excel-in-space (me included), I have used my trusty spreadsheet to calculate the build price of several ships and tried to answer the question which ships are actually worth manufacturing?
Tech I ships
First off, let's start with easiest ships - Tech I. The initial investment is low, because a BPO only costs about 10 times as much as the ship itself. For a few million ISK you can start your own production line. I have assumed ME 10 BPO for the calculations below.
Catalyst, Venture, Drake
As you can see, Tech I ships are not the golden-egg laying goose: some of them offer substantial profit, and it's always better to use freshly mined minerals to build ships, rather than just sell these minerals on open market. Also before you start mass-making Ventures, please mind these ships are given away to noobs for free by career agents. Catalyst and it's new counterpart Algos however (not in the table) seem to be in constant demand.
Tech II ships
Let's have a look at Tech II. Invention and multiple components make it much more expensive to start, but is it really worth it?
- 32x Datacore - Gallentean Starship Engineering
- 32x Datacore - Mechanical Engineering
- 1x Megathron BPC (1 run - without decryptors
* I have forgotten to put in the R.A.M.s into the table, but it doesn't change the final price much.
At the time of writing this post, Kronos sells for 873,499,000, which means 138,440,180 ISK of profit (or 15,8%)
As you can see, the potential for profit is higher, but it requires much more initial investment and is more time consuming, because of multiple production stages. It is great for corporations however, because many players can be involved in different steps of the production chain: one group of players copy the Megathron BPO (ME 0 BPO is good), abother group makes Tech I Megathrons (high ME BPO required), Tech II components and R.A.M.s. Finally the last group makes the finished product.
Capital Ships are the biggest behemoths roaming the stars of New Eden. The amount of minerals required to build them is equally huge. While logistics remains the key burden when manufacturing Capital Ships, is the potential profit worth the hassle?
Capital ship manufacturing is simplier than Tech II, with only two stages (minerals -> capital components; cap components -> ship). I am assuming ME 100 on components and ME 6 on the ship BPO.
These are technically tech I ships, but some of them drop as BPC from low and null-sec anomalies. Their value does not simply equal their mineral value like it does for regular Tech I counterparts, but partly from their limited nature. The difference between BPC and material price and final ship value is the potential profit to be made, so it's worth having a look.
As it turns out, Pirate battleships are far from worth the effort of manufacturing them for sale, but it is still better to buy a BPC rather than a ship already built.
By the way, have you noticed, that all pirate battleships with the exception of Bhaalgorn take the same amount of minerals to produce?
Making ships is a good business. Each ship class offers different profit margin, but also requires different amount of work and initial investment. It's up to you to choose how much work you're willing to invest in your shipwright business. Amount of ISK you get out of it is not only related to the biggest profit margin, but it also depends on the scale of the enterprise. Running a production line which makes a hundred of ships with 15% margin a week will yield more ISK than a Tech II line which only gives 5 advanced frigates with 50% margin in the same timeframe. Therefore, you should treat the analysis above as a starting point for your own business plan.