A major concern in transitioning from the scrappy early game settlements to the lategame armadas is that every single block must be welded by hand, which quickly becomes the bottleneck in the construction process as every other step - mining, refining, and assembling - can either be automated or can be done on a much more massive scale than welding. I suggest making welding in the lategame automated as well, and here's how: an automated shipyard! I suggest that a modular shipyard system be added to the game. A single shipyard would consist of any number of smaller shipyard blocks, which would be station blocks and have a size of around 5x5x5 armor blocks. In order to create a ship, your shipyard must be large enough to accommodate it, and you expand your shipyard by simply building another shipyard block adjacent to the first. So, consider that each shipyard can accommodate 5x5x5 worth of large ship blocks; if you wanted to build a ship that is 12x7x6, you would need to build a matrix of shipyard blocks of size 3x2x2. Please let me know if/how I can clarify this point, I'm not really sure how to convey it more clearly. Now for actually building the ship. So, you've built one or more shipyard blocks using the hand welder and you want to produce, oh, let's see... 5 fighters. First, you need a design for the shipyard to build. You'll switch to blueprint mode by pressing a key or interacting with the shipyard in some way. Now, you can place blocks using the creative mode toolset; they'll appear ghostly and blue and they won't cost resources because they're simply a blueprint and you're not actually building anything yet. Once you lay out your entire design in this way, walk up to the shipyard's console (or select the shipyard from the station's console) and click "Save Design." You'll be asked to give it a name, at which point it'll be saved to a list of named designs. When you select that design from the list, it'll show you: a) all of the resources needed to manufacture that design; b) all of the resources currently available to the shipyard; c) the time needed to manufacture that design considering the current size of the shipyard. Let's go through each of these. a) This is fairly self-explanatory; the ship will cost the same amount of resources as if you were building it by hand. b) Shipyards have a cargo port in the same way as cargo crates, conveyors, and refineries have cargo ports. Once you attach a cargo crate, a conveyor, or an assembler to the shipyard, any resources made available by that block can be used by the shipyard to construct your designs. c) A larger ship or more than one ship takes more time to build. However, a larger shipyard will have greater manufacturing capabilities: it can work on multiple parts of a ship simultaneously or even build multiple smaller ships at the same time. Now we get to manufacturing. Once you have the needed resources hooked up to the shipyard for the design you want to build, you'll select the design from the list, select how many you want built (5 in our case), and hit "Manufacture." It will begin building the ship back to front, block by block, without further intervention, and the resources will be drained from the available pool of resources as the ship is built rather than being taken in one lump sum. Once the ship is done, the shipyard will haul it via crane to the nearest empty space outside the shipyard and leave it there for your use. If there is no empty space available for the ship to exit the shipyard once completed, construction will be paused and the ship will be left in the shipyard until space becomes available. Suggestions, feedback, criticism, and support are all welcome. Edit: an aside, the blueprint mode could be useful outside of shipyards - quickly drafting a design, making sure it works, and knowing its resource costs without investing time and resources could be quite valuable. --- Some suggestions made by others below: BlackScythe and Cyber Cheese suggested components of a repair system. The repair system would weld unwelded or damaged blocks on a selected ship and add on any blocks placed on the ship using design mode (described in the third paragraph from the top of this post). To use the repair function: 1) Fly a ship into the shipyard. 2) Access the shipyard's console or select the shipyard from the station's console. There will be a list of existing ships inside the shipyard next to the manufacturing section (described using the bulk of the post above). They will be named after the design used to create them or named "Unnamed Small/Large Ship" if they were created by hand. 3) Select a ship from the list and click one of the options beneath the list: rename, repair, or scan. This would be a good opportunity to add a scan option as suggested in other 3d printer posts. Fly a ship into the shipyard, select it from the existing ships list, and hit scan. The ship will be added to the shipyard's design list using its current name.