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Plan the perfect factory with this Factorio blueprints guide

best factorio blueprints
(Image credit: Wube Software)

Looking for a Factorio blueprints guide? When you’re building your manufacturing metropolis on Factorio’s alien planet, things can get messy quickly. Many of the game’s assembly lines and processes are so intricately interconnected, that you can easily end up in an infuriating tangle of transport belts, pipes, and electrical wiring.

This is where the ingenious Factorio blueprints system comes in. Blueprints let you copy, save, and share the layout of any part of their factory. These plans can then be laid over areas of land where you want to build, helping you expand your factory in a precise fashion, thereby making it neater, easier to navigate and most importantly, more efficient.

In short, a good Factorio blueprint will help bring order to even the most chaotic builds. But how exactly do you create, save and share blueprints, and what are the best blueprints to keep tucked away in your library? Time to go back to the drawing board.

How to create, edit and save blueprints in Factorio

To create blueprints in Factorio, you must first switch the game to Blueprint mode (ALT+B). You should see a blue square appear to the bottom-right of your cursor, indicating Factorio is now in blueprint mode. 

To create a blueprint, click and drag over the area of your factory you want to be included. When you release the mouse-button, a menu box should pop up showing an animated picture of the area you’ve selected. Here, you can give your blueprint a name and description, and fiddle with parameters like snapping the blueprint to the grid or choosing an icon to represent the blueprint in your inventory. You can also edit the blueprint, right-clicking on the image to remove any unwanted objects, such as sections of transport belt or electricity pylons (left-clicking will also restore any deleted objects).

Once you’ve finished tinkering with your blueprint, click 'Save Blueprint' and it will appear in your inventory, the chosen icon highlighted with a blue background.

If you create a blueprint you plant to use regularly, consider putting it into your blueprint library. To do this, open the library by pressing the “Blueprint Library” button on the top-left of the screen, then click on the blueprint in your inventory and transfer it to the library. Note there are two menu tabs to choose from. “My blueprints” will store a blueprint and make it accessible across all singleplayer saves. “Game blueprints” is a library bound to the current save, used mainly for sharing blueprints in multiplayer. 

(Image credit: Wube Software)

How to use Factorio blueprints

To deploy a Factorio blueprint, simply click on it in your inventory, then left-click to place it as you would any other object. Note: The blueprint provides an outline of what to build and where, it doesn’t do the actual construction for you. Later in the game you can direct drones to automatically build structures designated by blueprints. Early on, though, you’ll have to do the grunt work yourself. Boo.

With any assembly lines or structure layouts that you’re going to either add to or use multiple incidents of, it’s a good idea to blueprint early so you can keep your construction consistent. Good areas for early blueprinting include: 

  • Your drilling and smelting setups for iron, steel, and copper etc.
  • Power generators (such as steam engine setups and solar farms).
  • Certain assembly setups, like electronic circuits, which you need a lot of, or inserters, which you need many of and form a key part of other assembly lines, such as science packs and other types of inserters.

Importing and exporting blueprints

One of the most important features of Factorio’s blueprints is that they're not restricted to your game. You can share your blueprints with other players and use their blueprints to improve your own factory.

Outside of Factorio, blueprints are saved as character strings. To export a blueprint, right-click the blueprint and click the 'Export to string' button. To import a blueprint, find the string online, copy it, Then click the 'Import string' button to the right of your hotbar, paste it in, then click 'Import'.

(Image credit: Wube Software)

The best Factorio blueprints

While you should certainly have a go at creating your own blueprints, sometimes the best way forward is to learn from others. Here’s a selection of the most useful blueprints for Factorio. All of these, along with many more, are available at factorioprints.com:

Base in a book
Arguably the ultimate blueprint book, Nialus’ Base-in-a-Book contains all the blueprints used in his accompanying Youtube series, designed to take you from a stranded interstellar explorer to master of the manufacturing realm.

Tileable Science
One of the very best Factorio blueprints, Tileable Sciences gives you a beautifully compact and efficient layout for every science pack in the game.

Circuit Book
This Blueprint book from ranzolger provides full blueprints for all the circuits you’ll need to manufacture across the game.

Power Book
Another blueprint book, this one is dedicated to the wonderful world of power generation. This book covers blueprints for every kind of power generating, taking you from steam power, through solar, all the way up to creating your own nuclear power plants.