In my Junk inventory I can see the components that make up an item. For example, an Adjustable Wrench yields Steel and a Gear. There are also weapons and armor I don't need, as well as debris lying around my settlement in the form of cars, tires, trees, etc.

How can I turn these things into their component parts for crafting?

  • I was under the impression that you do not need to. When you craft an item, or construct something they are converted for you automatically. – David Yell Nov 11 '15 at 8:56
  • @DavidYell Thanks, a good clarification. I've added that info and greatly expanded the answer. – Feral Chimp Nov 11 '15 at 16:11

It's uh... yeah. It's a little complicated. And unfortunately the game doesn't make this at all clear.

It all revolves around the Workshop.

Quick summary

You can break down five types of items into their components:

  • Moddable weapons: you must manually break these down with the Weapons Workbench.
  • Moddable armor: you must manually break these down with the Armor Workbench.
  • Non-moddable armor and clothing: you must break these down by dropping them on the ground while in the Workshop menu.
  • Junk: these will be broken down automatically for crafting; however, if you want to manually "liberate" specific components for any reason (e.g. quests or easier transportation) you can break down junk by dropping it on the ground as above.
  • Neighborhood debris: you must break these down by wandering around while in the Workshop menu.

Three benches affect component creation:

  • Weapons Workbench
  • Armor Workbench
  • Workshop bench. Though this looks like simple a workbench like the others, it's the heart of the crafting system and has an inventory that's available for the other benches.

When broken down, the components go to different inventories:

  • To your character's inventory: components broken down at a workbench.
  • To the Workshop's inventory: components broken down through the Workshop menu when you've dropped them or find them out in the neighborhood.

The components that are available to you for crafting are a combination of:

  • Actual base components (like Plastic) and potential components from junk items (like the plastic in a Plastic Plate)
  • Materials in your character's inventory and materials in the Workshop's inventory

To get needed components, the Workshop:

  • Will automatically break down junk items, whether in its inventory or your character's inventory
  • Will not automatically break down any other items (armor, weapons, etc.)

Breaking down junk inventory

You don't have to break these down to access their components.

Let's say you have a Plastic Plate in your inventory. When broken down, that's worth two plastic. But those two plastic are available as raw materials without a separate step of breaking them down.

These materials are available for Workshop and Workbench crafting whether they're in your inventory or the Workshop's inventory.

It's also possible to break them down manually the same way as for neighborhood debris as described later: by dropping them on the ground and manually scrapping each one. (Infrequently when you drop an item on the ground it will disappear—falling through the ground or into another object—so you might want to back up before doing this.)

Why would you bother to break down junk manually? If you plan to keep these items in your inventory for their components, for example to move them to another settlement, the components themselves will usually be much lighter than the original item. Note the usually though. Examples:

  • 10lb Lead Weight (10lb) = 3 Lead (0.9lb)
  • Extinguisher (6lb) = 2 Asbestos, 2 Rubber, 4 Steel (1.2lb)
  • Bag of Cement (8lb) = 5 Concrete (15lb)

(That last one is presumably because concrete = cement + sand/gravel/stone.)

Breaking down moddable weapons

Moddable weapons act differently from junk in that you must break them down at the Weapons Workbench.

Let's say you have an Automated Institute Pistol, which includes plastic as a component. That potential plastic is not available for crafting.

To make it available you must go to the Weapons Workbench, select the weapon, and use the Scrap command. This will place those components in your personal inventory.

While this is an extra step, it makes sense. If the Workshop automatically melts down a wrench in your inventory, that's great. If it melts down your beloved laser rifle... yeah. That sucks.

It is not possible to break down non-moddable weapons (for example grenades), even by dropping them and using the Workshop menu.

Breaking down moddable armor

Armor that can be modded works the same way as weapons: you must break it down to make its components available. You break it down the same way, but using the Armor Workbench. This will place the components in your personal inventory.

Breaking down non-moddable armor and clothing

Other apparel, including clothing and non-moddable armor like helmets, must be broken down the same way as neighborhood debris, which is described in detail next.

As with moddable armor and weapons, the Workshop will not break down these materials automatically. You must do it manually.

Breaking down neighborhood debris

For all the debris near a Workshop—walk up to the Workshop bench, choose the Workshop option, and then walk away from the Workshop.

As you walk around your neighborhood, items will get highlighted with the option to Scrap them. Choose that option and they'll get broken down -- you can even break a car, tree, or collapsed house into its components in seconds.

Unlike the Weapons and Armor benches, breaking items down this way places them directly in the Workshop inventory rather than in your own. This makes sense: if you break down an entire house, you don't want to carry it around in your pockets.

While in this mode, you can see the Workshop's area of influence as a translucent green wall around the region.

You can generally activate the Workshop crafting menu from anywhere within the Workshop's area of influence: hold down whatever key, mouse button, or controller button you have mapped to "Toggle POV/Workshop". (Look at the Workbench and it'll tell you the key.) Just be sure you're not looking at another item, like a container, when you hold down the key, or the Workshop menu might not appear.

Note that if you're in the Workshop menu and have selected an item to create, you won't be able to Scrap items you find. Press Tab to break out of item creation mode and back into the main Workshop menu.

Workbench inventory sharing

Components in the Workshop inventory are available for Workshop and Workbench use within that Workshop's entire area of influence.

By default it's not shared between Workbenches in different settlements. As discussed in this question, you can set up a supply line to share resources between settlements.

Leftover components do not disappear

Many people believe that when the Workshop automatically breaks down a junk item to get a specific components, the other components are lost.

While this is a widespread belief (and for good reasons), it's not true. Details are in the accepted answer to the question What happens to extra materials from salvaged junk?

  • 2
    You can also hold V (by default, on PC) to enter the Workshop mode away from the bench. – Jeeva Nov 11 '15 at 9:55
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    You say "In a single click", but don't you have to, first, highlight the object; second, press R to state your intent to recycle/scrap the object; and finally, press Enter or click OK to verify your intent to actually scrap the object? Or have I missed a workaround for this system where junk can be recycled in, as you say, 'a single click'? Is it different on consoles? Or am I just not clicking properly? – Ayelis Nov 11 '15 at 18:53
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    @Ayelis Fair enough, that wording was a little handy-wavy oversimplification. Changed it to "in seconds". – Feral Chimp Nov 11 '15 at 19:18
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    In addition to holding V, you can also press and hold mouse3 on PC to open the workshop interface. This is the "toggle third person" button, so presumably holding the 3rd-person button on a controller would work. – Yorik Nov 11 '15 at 21:34
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    The armor bench only lets you scrap armor that can be modified. If you want to scrap non-modifiable armor, you need to drop it from your inventory and scrap it via the workshop interface, like you would a tree or car. – Nolonar Nov 11 '15 at 23:32

The best reason to break down the junk into it's individual components, is as their original items, they have a weight, and weigh you down. If you scrap them, they automatically show up in your workbench as the raw items. Definitely worth scraping all items...

  • +1 Very good point, thanks. It turns out this is true for some items, but not all. I've expanded the answer with details. – Feral Chimp Nov 12 '15 at 14:14
  • But you can only scrap them at a workshop, at which point the weight no longer matters, right? – DCShannon Nov 13 '15 at 2:24
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    It makes sense when you want take them to another base to build up something there. – Jurik Nov 20 '15 at 12:14

It Breaks down automatically and for Items such as apparel and weapons you are going to have to manually scrap it by dropping it on the ground (I'm new to fallout 4 hope my answer is clear) and if a junk Item like handscuffs(screw, spring, and steel) has a required material such has a screw that will be used on the item you have crafted, and for the other material it will be turned into raw material, so you now have an added spring and steel into your inventory.

while I was typing this I just found out that you can scrap an item from your crafting table, ex. working on my armor at the armor workbench and turned my leather chest piece into boiled leather chest piece but I ran out of leather when I wanted to turn my left and right leather arm into boiled leather I had allot of leather items that wasnt junk so I just scrapped it into material.

also just picked up some more info, junk is also useful and can be bobby pin and it provides steel material for required material and if you have 100 steel it will not go straight to your bobby pins (required for picking locks).

hope this answer was good enough, my second day on fallout 4 lol

  • Welcome to Arqade! This answer appears to contain information already in the accepted answer, except for the note about bobby pins. I'm not sure what you're trying to say about bobby pins, but whatever it is, I don't think it's true. I don't recall being able to break down or craft bobby pins. Also, this community values proper grammar, spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. Your posts will be better received if you spend more time editing them. An explanation of how you figured out the information, and/or a citation of where you got it also helps, at least until you have more rep. – DCShannon Feb 25 '16 at 1:51

I click on the pip boy, go to my Junk folder and click X (on Xbox One) to drop items.
Do this near your workbench, then click on the workbench and highlight the item you have dropped and scrap that item; be it armor,items or guns.

I do it with all the item I don't need

  • This does not add anything not already covered by other answers. – GodEmperorDune Jan 10 '16 at 18:07

I'm not a member, but Feral Chimp put together a well explained and comprehensive explanation. I wanted to add a key piece of information that's useful for both beginners and vets alike. When modding a piece of armor (this can be replace by gun, etc.) and you allow the computer to select the junk items to use as materials, ONLY that material will be liberated from your junk item the rest will be lost.

For clarification an explanation:

You're modding leather armor and your mod requires 4 leather. You have baseballs stored in your workbench/ place. Note, a baseball's liberated scrap materials are Cork (2) and Leather (1). The computer selects this as its source of leather. The baseballs are destroyed giving you the leather to create your mod. HOWEVER, the cork WILL NOT be placed in your inventory. Thus, you just lost 8 Cork.

If this seems inconsequential, I would think again. For items that break down into 4 materials and the computer wants to use it for its Aluminum, for example, you could be losing 3 other solid materials, like nuclear material, ie. the Alarm Clock. Though I did not test the next part, I would assume it to be true for single material break downs as well. An example here would be a 40lb Barbell yields 10 Lead. If the computer uses that item and only needs 5 Lead, then you just lost the other 5.

So in conclusion, not only for the potential weight decrease, but if you want ALL the materials from your items, as painstaking as it may be, MANUALLY SCRAP them all down. If someone has different results by all means let me know. I ran the test with a few different items and each time the materials not used for the mod were lost.

  • Thanks for adding this. It's a common, though incorrect, belief, and something I should have clarified. I've clarified it now, with a link to the separate question that goes into details. – Feral Chimp Nov 16 '15 at 1:01

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