Like blueprints, the recipes you find in No Man's Sky allow you to combine things and make something new. Unlike blueprints, what you create from a recipe is not always a final product, though. Recipes are useful in that they allow you to make things you'd normally have to buy.
Like the name suggests, components are parts of other things. You'll use these to construct and repair your starship, suit and Multi-tool and their various Companion Units. You'll also use components to make the parts that combine to form Warp Cells — and you'll be making a lot of Warp Cells — and the Dynamic Resonators you'll need for your Hyperdrive upgrades. Components include Carite Sheet, Microdensity Fabric, Electron Vapor, Suspension Fluid and Antimatter.
You'll find alloys under the components tab of your crafting menu, but you'll only need them for a few specific blueprints. An even better way to make use of Alloys is to just turn common elements into something vastly more profitable and sell them. Alloys include Terumin, Lemmium, Maxmox, Crolium and Aronium.
No Man's Sky's devices crafting category covers things that give you access to locked doors and chests. This is where you'll find the extraordinarily useful (and potentially lucrative) Bypass Chips as well as the AtlasPasses you'll discover along your journey. Devices include Bypass Chip as well as AtlasPass v1, v2 and v3.
The elements that fuel your Exosuit, Multi-tool and starship appear under consumables. With these, you can convert more common elements into more efficient fuel sources. Consumables include Warp Cell, Unstable Plasma, Shielding Sheet, Shielding Shard, Shielding Plate, Power Gel, Power Reservoir and Power Canister.
Your crafting menu has a fourth tab devoted to curiosities. We haven't found any recipes for curiosities yet, but add them here if and when they get added to the game.
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No Man's Sky is a largely solitary experience, but you don't have to travel the universe alone.
This is just one small section of Polygon's No Man's Sky guide. Be sure to check out the rest, where you can learn all about your ship, your Multi-Tool and Companion Units and even get answers to some of the biggest questions about No Man's Sky. We also have a guide to No Man's Sky's resources that'll teach you the difference between Oxides and Silicates as we explain No Man's Sky's elements.
And if you're just looking for a quick reference guide to locations, like where you can save and trade — we've got you covered — too.