I started playing Astroneer again, after being away for a year or two. The automation update (June 24, 2020) is great! I love the “Medium Resource Canister” that holds 32 of the same type of resource. So far I have one for iron, aluminum, compound, zinc, ammonium, and titanium.
Setup Auto Extractor
I was out of ceramic, but I found a clay deposit (Sylva planet). I found out that the “Auto Extractor” produces more of the resource than using your tool. (You’ll need to unlock using 7500 bytes and construct it using the large printer with 2 Steel, 1 tungsten carbide, and 1 rubber). I created one and dragged it over to the deposit. It’s too big to put on my tractor or buggy. I also dragged over a medium platform, medium generator with some carbon, and a few small wind turbines. I placed a Medium Resource Canister on the top of Auto Extractor, connected it to power, and turned it on (don’t forget that). It took awhile, but of course I was doing other things while it was working. But it filled up the canister without depleting the deposit!
Tip: It seems that you need to put 1 resource in the Medium Resource Canister first, so it knows what type it will “accept”. Then the Auto Extractor will deposit the resource nuggets in it.
Now, I can automatically smelt a resource from the source canister to a destination canister, and it doesn’t need an “Auto Arm”! Just put the canisters on the same table as the Smelting Furnace. See the tip above – I had to put one Ceramic in the “output” canister first, and tweaked the “Enable Output” setting until the process started automating.
How is your automation going in Astroneer?