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So I have been mining for many hours just to notice I can barely build anything. I have been mining manually: parking my ship above an ore type to generate gravity, drill a ton of ore and then collect it with an empty inventory by hand.

I just noticed I have a collector on board of my ship but I am unable to locate it and use it. I have read it needs to be within 2m distance of an item to collect it. So how do I make use of this? Since all the ore I drill is inside a hole it is kinda hard to maneuver the collector into place. So can I use the collector to mine more efficient?

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You can transport the ore to your collector using gravity

  1. fly your ship very close to an ore deposit and turn it in a way that the asteroid is above the ship
  2. change the height settings of your gravity generator so that the gravity field reaches into the asteroid.
  3. drill a small hole into the ore deposit just above the collector
  4. mine straight upwards

All the rocks will fall down, through the hole and right into the collector.

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You can improve this technique by building slanted light armor blocks around your collector to funnel the falling rocks into it. That way more rocks will land in the collector instead of next to it.

In the long run you should consider to use ship-mounted drills for mining instead of mining by hand. Either add some drills to the ship you have or build a new ship dedicated to mining (Use conveyor tubes to link your drills to your cargo containers. Use connectors to be able to temporarily connect the conveyor systems of different ships/stations and exchange large amounts of ore and other items between them).

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