Materials: HowTo - Trade Encoded Data, Elementary or Manufactured Materials - #00060
When you're in dire need of some material you don't have in your material collection and you might have trouble finding, you can utilize a material trader's services.
FINDING A MATERIAL TRADER
... for manufactured material can either be done by flying to the next INDUSTRIAL/EXTRACTION or INDUSTRIAL/REFINERY system near you, which will give you a high chance of a manufactured material trader at that place if the system is large enough for a large orbital station.
(For data, you need a high tech economy, for element material it should be a refinery or a combination of refinery with industrial or anything else)
The better way is to use inara's NEAREST function. Provide your current location, then select MATERIAL TRADER and you will see a list of all available material traders around you. The function will list all types of material traders, so make sure you approach the right one.
... simply opt for starport services, contacts, material trader and be overwhelmed by a huge table full of materials.
Just click on any material you need and you will see all possible trading partners (materials) with the trade ratio in the upper left corner.
Clicking on some grade 5 material like PROTO RADIOLIC ALLOYS, you might see their grade 4 material neighbors PROTO LIGHT ALLOYS in elite's standard yellow-orange tone, while everything else is blocked (red). This means you can swap in some proto LIGHT alloys in order to increase your stock of proto RADIOLIC alloys.
Just select the number of proto LIGHT alloys to invest into receiving the shown number of proto RADIOLIC alloys.
Materials are charted into groups like "Heat" or "Crystals" and also into their regular quality grades with grade 5 being the most rare and grade 1 the most ubiquitious.
When swapping/trading, you can either
- use material of the same grade. All other material of the desired material's grade has a 6:1 ratio, you will receive one piece of what you aim for when providing 6 pieces of another material of the same grade.
In case you got higher grade material outside your current material group (horizontally aligned), you will receive more material than invested. The ratios here are a bit more complex based on a 3:1 (3:3:1, 3:3:3:1) base, degraded by a certain factor. "One outside group, one grade higher" for example ends up in "2 invested, 3 received". Important for you: Prefer the current material's group for maximum efficiency.
- use material of the same group. When using lower graded material for what you want, you will have a 6:1 ration with one grade lower, a 36:1 (6:6:1), a 216 (6:6:6:1) or a 1296 (6:6:6:6:1) using the 216 and 1296 vs 1 option is not really feasible due to limited cargo space with materials.
In case of higher grade material inside your material's group, the basic ratio applies with 1:3, 1:3:3 (1:9), 1:3:3:3(1:27), 1:3:3:3:3(1:81) received for every single piece invested.
What to chose depends a lot on what you got. If you did lots of assassination missions for example, you might have a truck load of EXQUISITE FOCUS CRYSTALS, or a lot of BIOTECH conductors after doing lots of passenger missions. Both are regular material, but also some kind of joker as they're not often used but usually the stuff you hold the most.
... not to trade in stuff you later on need for engineer modifications. You might finally have what you need of a certain material, just to find out you haven't got enough of something that was in stock in the right numbers.