How To Get Started Crafting In Fallout 4

How To Get Started Crafting In Fallout 4
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Did you know that Fallout 4 has a deep, complicated crafting and settlement-management system? Well, it does. Thing is, the game doesn’t do the greatest job explaining how it all works.

Early on, you’ll find your first base of operations: The Red Rocket Truck Stop. You’ll walk in and see some crafting tables. There’s a radio playing classical music. That’s pretty much it.

I spent my first few hours unsure how the heck to even begin crafting. The crafting user interface could charitably be referred to as “bad,” and the game doesn’t really explain what you’re supposed to do or how you’re supposed to do it.

A few helpful friends pointed me in the right direction and got me on my way. Hooray, helpful friends! I thought I’d take a moment to help anyone out there who might also be having trouble getting going.

First tip:

You can totally park your power armour in your workshop

Early in Fallout 4, you get a set of power armour. You get to keep and upgrade that armour; if you get out and leave it somewhere, it appears on your map so you never lose it. I didn’t realise (at first) that there’s actually a designated storage spot in your workshop.

Simply walk up to the Power Armour Station and get out of your power armour. There isn’t a “dock” prompt or anything, but if you get out of the armour while standing in front of the station, it will dock up automatically. You can also store junk at the power armour station, which makes it easier to keep your inventory clear.

Now, on to crafting. Here’s the main thing you need to know:

Crafting doesn’t take place at the red crafting table

The game implies that you have to walk over to the red table to enter your workshop. That’s not actually how crafting works in Fallout 4. The bounds of your “workshop” extend to the entire area around the Red Rocket truck stop. To craft and place things, you have to actually walk around and arrange them in the gameworld.

This is… not something that I understood at first. I’ve heard from enough people who had the same problem that I’m confident I’m not alone on this one.

You actually don’t even need to approach the red workbench to get started. The game doesn’t tell you this unless you’ve already started crafting, but you can enter the workshop by holding down the view button/touchpad (depending on your system) when you’re first approaching the truck stop.

You can scrap everything in the truck stop

Another thing I didn’t quite grasp at first — you can scrap everything within the bounds of your workshop. You should definitely do this. Just walk around, select stuff, and scrap it.

There are a few things you’ll want to leave standing, of course — your various workbenches, any furniture you may want to keep — but those tires and busted shelves and junked cars? Scrap that shit.

If you scrap most of the junk in your workshop, you’ll have a lot more material with which to upgrade your armour and other gear. In fact, I’ve found that when I leave and return to my workshop, the game gives me new tires and other assorted pieces of junk, almost like the tire-fairy has stopped by in the night.

Once you’re comfortable with basic crafting and scrapping, you can start a settlement and get deeper into managing it. But that’s a post for another day. For now: I hope this has been helpful for anyone else who didn’t quite get what to do at first.

If you have any more crafting tips, I hope you’ll share them below.


  • I agree that the game doesn’t help very much with this feature but at this stage I have spent as much time building up Sanctuary as I have wandering the wasteland. At the moment I am dropping all the ‘junk’ right there on the floor, going into workshop mode and scrapping it all for parts! Seems horribly inefficient doing it this way so I know there must be an easier method of scrapping junk, just haven’t found it yet…

    • Are you just dropping it on the ground? If on PC I just use ‘T’ to transfer all my junk automatically when I’m by the workshop.

      • I think he means he drops the items on the ground that he wants to break down into parts.

        The problem that I and nestorkt have found is that there is no easy way to scrap (break down the items to parts) from the menus. It seems that you can transfer the junk items to your workshop invetory, but that transfers the entire adjustable wrench, instead of breaking the wrench down to gears and steel.

        I’ve been doing the same thing as nestorkt. The things i want to break down, i take to an open house slab (i scrapped the house), drop the items on the ground that i want to break down, then enter workshop mode and scrap each of them to parts. Pretty crap system but the only one i’ve found so far.

        EDIT: GR33NM4N points out the above is a waste of time since the items get auto-scrapped when modding stuff.

        • Yep, drop stuff on the ground, go to workshop interface and scrap each one in turn.

          I have a suspicion that the system might scrap items that are stored in the workshop automatically to consume their components – but with everything else going on (and with so many numbers and items appearing in all the various lists) I haven’t investigated if this is true yet.

          *Edit* I checked a couple of Youtube vids and indeed it appears that if you transfer an item into the workbench and craft something that needs one of its components then it will scrap it automatically – other components from the scrapped item not used will be stored…

          • Sorry I should have mentioned, yes it auto scraps items for parts when it’s needed. I’ve collected enough phones and hotplates to know it auto scraps them for copper when I’m doing ‘sparky work’ around my town.

          • This doesn’t ALWAYS appear to work. I had a variety of leather items in the workstation inventory but I couldn’t upgrade leather armour without dropping them on the ground, breaking them down into leather then putting the leather back into the workstation. This may however just be a bug. For most other things it works correctly.

    • Select ‘transfer’ when looking at workbench (or any other bench as each location has a shared inventory), after entering the items sharing menu there should be a button to ‘add all junk’ this puts all the junk from your inventory into the locations workshop inventory. As you craft items and build your base in the workshop mode the game will automatically scrap items from your communal inventory to get the parts needed for each item.

      • Best tip ever! I’m fine with all the crafting and worked out pretty quickly you didn’t need to be at the bench (the game does stick a huge press “button” to craft in the top corner of your screen when walking around.

        But I didn’t know junk stored in the workbench would automatically break down, thats great to know! cheers

    • You don’t have to scrap it, stuff automatically gets scrapped. You can just transfer all junk to storage when you get back to your base and it is available. If you have stuff that contains copper and you start putting in wiring then it will use those.

      Each base seems to have its own storage, not shared… so after I stripped the red rocket station I then carried all the stuff back to spend in sanctuary.

      Scrap a whole bunch of cars, trees and ruined houses in sanctuary and you have lots of wood and metal to build walls and stuff. I moved some couches out but scrapped almost everything that wasn’t nailed down in sanctuary.

      • Yeah I wish it was communally/shared junk inventory between bases – but I’m sure someone might mod that.

        • OK you can do this. You can assign settlers to different towns for trade routes if you have charisma 6 and the leader perk. Shares the different base storage, makes life way easier.

  • Agreed. A big problem as well is that it is introduced *far* too early in the game. They should’ve given players a decent chance to settle in, accumulate some money, fast travel points, access to merchants and so forth, before unveiling the whole settlement thing on players. It’s cool, I like that this sub-game is in there and it works well, and so far FO4 is everything I’d hoped it would be – i.e. pant-shittingly spectacular – but I totally see why some people try playing a Bethsoft game for the first time and just get completely overwhelmed, and then run back to something more linear and familiar.

  • AFAIK, there is no need to actually scrap the junk – just store it at your workshop and it will automatically scrap it when you need the parts (e.g. it will tell you it is going to scrap the desk fan for the steel and screw that you need for your handgun mod).

  • Discovered basic crafting at Red Rocket. Thought that was pretty cool. THEN I discovered how to completely overhaul sanctuary, and am currently happily overwhelmed. Spent two hours last night just cleaning the joint out for scrap. Going to go do the same with Red Rocket tonight. Gives you tonnes of experience, too, so you can pick up the Armorer and Gun Nut perks to apply low level mods with your newly found materials.

    Discovering all this stuff, and doing the quests in concord, boosted my enthusiasm from curious optimism to all out “fuck-yeah” excitement. Love this game.

  • Once you get caravans travelling between your settlements, you can apparently have a common set of resources between them so you don’t have to go back to Sanctuary to drop off/pick up stuff.

    Again, not something I’ve been able to figure out how to do yet…

      • How does it work? It looks to me like once I got Local Leader 1 my junk inventory just became common across all my workshops, but other people are talking about needing to specifically set up trade routes?

        • I haven’t done it, but in the workshop interface apparently you look at a settler and there’ll be an assignment prompt

        • Yeah, in the workshop mode, look at a settler and there will be an option to set up a trade route or supply route or something like that. I think it only share between settlements you have supply chains with though

  • 1. You can go up to the workshop, click transfer, then click transfer all junk
    2. Took me a while to realise but you have to assign a person to your crops or they will die.
    3. You can rotate items while placing them (L2-R2) on ps4.

    Apparently you can raise and lower items too but havent seemed to work that out.

    • 2. Your guys will auto assign if they have nothing else to do. I find the way you assign them to be so cumbersome. Find dude – interact – hike over to where you want him stationed – interact.

      Why not have a list of settlers and possible jobs and just let me tag them????

    • Hmm… Holding (x) on PS4 and pressing up or down on analogue stick moves items between foreground an background. As items don’t tilt they remain horizontal do moving up and down is probably just done easily enough by moving things into the background while looking upwards.

      Unfortunately the auto snap, while excellent for all intents and purposes, is also a bit of a hindrance when moving items around.

    • Does anyone know if you need to assign x number of people to x number of crops, or do you only need 1 person on crop duty and they will take care of ALL food crops in that settlement?

      Also would love to know more details on placing items in the game.
      I quickly worked out the triggers for rotating items.
      I also worked out that when building a new item it is locked to a decent distance from your character, making it difficult to place furniture indoors. If you just go to some open space, place it to build it, then walk up closer and pick it up to move it, it’s now anchored closer to you and thus much easier to manouveur and position in tight spaces.

  • could do the sanctuary mission. There is a help menu in options. Its pretty helpful.This approach takes me back to the old PC gaming days. Where you had to work out how to do things. The game provides you with the general concepts, then you have to experiment to discover and learn. This is way more fun.

    • Experimenting and discovering what you can build and how you can combine things is fun. Experimenting and discovering with basic controls is not.

  • I find the way the game parses a lot of it’s information to be absolutely abysmal. Gear, stats, timers, tool tips, everything is just that much harder to locate and digest than it needs to be.

    • Yeah I had a settlement under attack and didn’t know until I got a message saying I had failed to defend it, reload save from three minutes earlier, fast travel and Bam! Three lives were saved that day.

      • Damn. I guess the incentive is to set up proper defences early and let the settlers defend themselves. The rest of the game is top notch, but just the opaque transmission of information is brutally bad.

        • I believe if the number for defence is higher than the combined total of food and water then Raiders wont attack or are less likely.

  • A note for parking your power armor… Yank the core from its inventory when you’re not using it. Settlers will steal unmanned, core’d suits to fight off attacks, then leave them lying around the second the last enemy dies.

    I’m mostly sure (like… 85%) that they don’t use up the core (Other NPCs seem to have unlimited runtime), but you will while walking it back to its berth, not to mention any damage they take will need to be repaired by you.

    On a slightly annoying note, this will mean your inventory will have several lower charge cores lying about, and the game’s logic is to use the highest charge core when one runs out or is ejected. Yes, this means you can waste pristine, 100% charge cores if you have the perk to use them as grenades and haven’t got any grenades equipped. I only made that mistake twice.

  • Altogether I’ve probably spent 5 hours on my sanctuary settlement. It was a fortress. With 20 settlers enough power, food & defense to keep the it at 85% happiness. However it was attacked by super mutants last night. Along with the suicidal ones screaming as they charged into my town. I eventually dispersed of all of them. However my settlers turned on me. I couldnt get rid of thier agro towards me. I eventually killed my whole community. It was super dark & messed up.

    Then I just loaded up a previous save 🙂

    • what do you need to know? Set up a power supply, then you look at it while in workshop mode and you can hit “Y” (on xbox) to attach a wire. Rig that wire to wherever it needs to go, but you’ll need pylons along the way so that the wire doesn’t hit the ground. Bring lots of copper lol

      • haha yup. Make sure you mark it as a favourite component (or whatever they call it) so it shows the little magnifying glass whenever you look at something with copper. I collect literally everythign I come across, but still find I’m short of bloody copper

  • I’ve spent a lot of time in sanctuary building it up, which is where I learnt how to do it from a mission… so no idea why you started at the fuel station as sanctuary is your first base 🙂

    My best tip would be to keep defense high. And by that, I mean put turrets on the roof. They’re harder to kill and have a better field of view 🙂 Same goes with power lines, rig them up on the tops of houses and you’ll need less power pylons then you would on the ground. I also left all the useless streetlights around and have place power connecters on them, as its cheaper then buying a large pylon 🙂

    Also, if you place something by accident, don’t scrap it as you get next to nothing back from scrapping it, instead just store it back in your workshop to use again later which you can do by hitting “B” (on xbox) on the object

  • When you scrap an item this way the game only uses the base component needed for what you are trying to make and discards the rest. Only by actually dropping the item and scrapping it do you get all of the components!

    Basically, scrap everything before using components or you are gonna missout on stuff!

  • I accidently stumbled on the whole crafting/settlement thing while trying to adjust the third person camera while I was in Sanctuary.
    Piss poor ingame tutorial and lead in to the mechanic.

  • You can actually “dock” you power armour by using the power armour workbench whilst in the power armour. You gotta be standing just in front of it and it will automatically move you out of the armour and place it in front of the bench

  • Thanks for the tips Kotaku.
    And Kotaku. Can we make a thread for the ugliest and hottest character creation?! Would be interesting. Thanks

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