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After adhesive and oil, aluminum is arguably the most useful crafting component in Fallout 4. You come across plenty of items that can be broken down into aluminum out in the Commonwealth, but often not nearly enough.
Aluminum shortages are definitely one of the most common early game problems Fallout 4 players have. I’ve been there myself, and after hundreds of hours poured into Fallout 4, in this Fallout 4 aluminum guide, I’m here to keep you from going down the same route.
What is Aluminum?
Aluminum is one of the eleven uncommon crafting components in Fallout 4. You can purchase it as a component from vendors or have items broken down into aluminum.
What Items Contain Aluminum?
There is a total of 24 items in Fallout 4 that contain aluminum. Each of them yields a different amount of aluminum. Though not always the case, pristine condition items often offer a higher yield factor than worn-down crafting items.
- Alarm clock (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Aluminum can (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Aluminum canister (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Applicator (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Cake pan (Yields 3 aluminum)
- Carlisle typewriter (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Cauterizer (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Coolant cap (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Ear examiner (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Hubcap (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Inactive Distress Pulser (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Industrial oil canister (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Ring stand (Yields 2 aluminum)
- Sensor (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Spanner (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Surgical tray (Yields 3 aluminum)
- Sweeper (Yields 3 aluminum)
- Toy rocketship (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Tray (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Tri tool (Yields 1 aluminum)
- TV dinner tray (Yields 3 aluminum)
- Tweezers (Yields 1 aluminum)
- Wakemaster alarm clock (Yields 2 aluminum)
Pay Attention to the Names!
It’s easy to mistake an item for having a particular component in Fallout 4. Surgical trays, TV dinner trays, trays all contain aluminum. So, of course, cafeteria trays offer aluminum as well, right?
Wrong. Cafeteria trays only offer plastic.
The same thing goes for the Carlisle typewriter. It may offer aluminum, but the standard typewriter doesn’t.
What is Aluminum Used For?
Aluminum is an essential component in a staggering amount of crafting recipes and mods in Fallout 4. Not only is its usage wide, but it’s almost always a pretty big amount of aluminum required as well.
Power Armor and Power Armor Stations
Lower tier Power Armor primarily uses steel, but the higher tier armor uses aluminum for modding and repairs.
With the second rank of the Local leader perk and the first rank of Armorer, you can build Power Armor stations at any settlement (Useful since most settles don’t come pre-equipped with one), and doing so costs 12 aluminum.
Aluminum is a key component in most weapon mods for firearms in Fallout 4. The higher level the mod, the more aluminum it’ll cost you.
Aluminum is a key component in many useful armor mods.
If you have the Season Pass or Automatron DLC installed, you can utilize the robot workbench to create and mod automatrons.
It’ll cost you 11 aluminum to create an automaton and even more aluminum for the various mods and armor choices.
Like blowing things up? If you want to make your own stuff that goes boom, aluminum is a key component in crafting grenades and mines.
Numerous Settlement crafting recipes require a varying degree of aluminum.
What’s the Best Way to Acquire Aluminum?
There are three ways to get your hands on aluminum, and that’s purchasing it from vendors, scrapping weapons or armor that contain aluminum, or finding items with aluminum in them out in the Wastes.
Always keep a Better Business outfit handy during Fallout 4. A Better Business outfit is a +1 Charisma headwear, +1 Charisma eyewear, and any +2 Charisma outfit.
You can obtain these items easily early in the game, and they don’t weigh a lot. Having them handy means better deals for you when you run into vendors during your travels. Keep an eye for crafting items that contain aluminum build up your aluminum stash passively.
Shipments of Aluminum
Picking up aluminum-containing crafting items becomes second nature quickly. But it also isn’t the fastest way to accrue large amounts of aluminum.
If you want to use your well-earned caps to stock up on aluminum, there are two guys you should get to know better.
Arturo is the proprietor of Commonwealth Weaponry. While he sells a pretty good variety of firearms, the best part about his inventory is the shipment of 50 pieces of aluminum he sells.
Make a habit of buying this every time you drop by Diamond City; when you can afford to do so, of course.
Rufus is the resident handyman of Goodneighbor. You can usually find him hanging around at Hotel Rexford.
In addition to being a handyman, Rufus also sells a few odds and ends, the most important being a shipment of 25 aluminum. As with Arturo, it doesn’t hurt to stock up when you’re in Goodneighbor and have the funds to afford it.
Besides oil and adhesive, which you cannot acquire by scrapping, scrapping is the best way to get mass amounts of crafting components in Fallout 4.
You can get the first rank of the Scrapper perk at level 1, provided you have at least 5 Intelligence. I highly recommend getting it sooner rather than later, as rank 1 of Scrapper allows you to get uncommon crafting components when scrapping weapons and armor.
If you have Far Harbor installed, the Scrapper perk gets even better. Once you hit level 40, you can select rank 3 of Scrapper, which doubles the number of uncommon crafting components you get when scrapping.
Once you reach this point, your crafting component struggles are essentially over (Besides oil and adhesive).
Wasteland Aluminum Hotspots
The first two methods of acquiring aluminum are great, but they aren’t ideal for lower-level players. Buying shipments at all, let alone consistently, is out of the question for lower-level players.
You can become rich quickly in Fallout 4 using the melon farm or purified water baron strategies, but I highly recommend not doing either in the early game. In my opinion, it takes a lot of the fun out of the beginning There’s no reason to get excited about finding a weapon worth 400 caps if you already have 200 thousand.
Scrapping alone isn’t enough to cover crafting component costs in the early game either, and you really need that rank 3 to get the gravy train started.
So, what options do early-game players have? Buckle up, strap on your gear, because we’re going hunting.
Best Places to Find Aluminum in Fallout 4
The best way to get aluminum in the early game is by finding it yourself out in the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a big place, however. Plenty of the areas you come across will have little to no aluminum.
But don’t worry, I’ve narrowed it down to a list of select locations that should satisfy your aluminum needs. I’ve tried to balance out several factors when creating this list.
These factors include how much combat you can expect, how far from Sanctuary these places are, how difficult they are to traverse, etc.
Federal Rations Stockpile
The Federal Ration Stockpile is close to Sunshine Tidings Co-Op and not too far from Sanctuary. Get used to this place, as you’ll probably be coming here a lot. Settlements will frequently send you here to deal with raider troubles.
Sunshine Tidings Co-Op is the best and safest starting point when heading for the Federal Ration Stockpile. Make your way south from Sunshine Tidings, and you’ll quickly come to some cliffs overlooking the Stockpile.
Outside are some raiders and several machinegun turrets. There’s a randomized set of Power Armor in a shipping container on a truck on the southeast side.
If the Power Armor has a fusion core, a raider will try to use it against you. It’s not a half-bad idea to sneak up from the southeast and rush to the suit yourself to get the advantage.
After dealing with the enemies outside, collect your spoils of war and head inside. Head down a couple of sets of stairs and slowly make your way to the open doorway.
There are some raiders and a machinegun turret ahead and to the left. They’re perfect targets for some explosives, and one well-placed frag grenade can wipe all of them out.
Make sure to thoroughly search the shelves here, as aluminum cans will be where you’ll be getting your aluminum here. Watch where you step as cans can be hiding in the nooks and crannies around storage containers too.
Continue forward, and you’ll come across the door to the main storage area. Unfortunately, the door is password protected on a Master terminal. You likely won’t have Master Hacking at this point in the game, so you have to get the password instead. Doing so means going through the catacombs and taking it from the raider boss Red Tourette.
Head back the way you came and head down the passageway to the left. You’ll have to fight through 10 or so raiders before reaching the final room with Red Tourette inside. Kill her and take the storage room password off her corpse.
Alternatively, you can head for the Lonely Chapel from Sunshine Tidings. It’s just before the Federal Rations Stockpile itself. You can find a trapdoor here that leads right into the catacombs.
Whichever way you choose, head north from Tourette’s bedding area and through a backdoor into the storage room. There will be two raiders to take care of before the coast is clear. After that, feel free to loot the storage room blind.
You can expect to get around 30 aluminum cans from a full clear of the Federal Rations Stockpile. Use the password to let yourself out and be on your way.
I would recommend skipping the catacombs and just looting the storage area when coming back here additional times. You only get several aluminum cans back there, which isn’t worth the effort if you want to be the most efficient.
Corvega Assembly Plant
The Corvega Assembly Plant is a location many players head to early on, thanks to it being in Lexington.
Surviving Corvega the first time around is easier said than done. Feral ghouls are crawling all over the place in Lexington, in nearly every building.
To the left of Corvega, there’s a raider in Power Armor with a Fatman. And yes, he will spam mini-nukes at you if he sees you. It’s not a half-bad idea to attack Corvega from the south rather than coming through Lexington.
Several aiders, a machinegun turret, and some searchlights are camping outside the Corvega entrance. Watch out for the raiders on the upper walkways of Corvega’s exterior.
If they catch sight of you, they will start shooting at you. A sniper rifle is your best friend here, and you can kill most of them from the entrance to Corvega.
Make your way through the plant until you come across an assembly line on the base level of the plant. On this assembly line will be some coolant caps. Coolant caps break down into two aluminum, and you can get your hands on 13 of them.
If you want to play it safe and are happy with your coolant cap haul, feel free to leave and come back at a higher level to deal with everyone here.
If you thoroughly explore inside and out of the assembly plant, collect every hubcap, TV dinner tray, and aluminum can, and you’ll get around 100 aluminum.
Be careful coming back here at higher levels. A Super Mutant Behemoth starts to spawn here (Though the Fat Man raider is always fighting him when you fast-travel here).
Thicket Excavations is one of my go-to locations when I feel like farming exp. It’s very close to Sanctuary, and it is one of the locations settlers frequently send you to to deal with raiders. It also happens to be a decent place to get some aluminum.
To use this farming method, you first have to complete the quest Pull the Plug. Upon completing this quest, leave Thicket Excavations and wait 24 hours. If you are at least level 12, the entire layout of the quarry will change, and it will become a raider base.
From the fast-travel point, go up and take a right to head into the quarry. Directly ahead is a shack with a raider and a machinegun turret.
Take care of them, then deal with the two raiders in the trailer to your left. If you have a Sniper Rifle, you can kill almost every raider from the top of the quarry. Pick off the ones by themselves to keep the rest unaware of your presence for as long as possible.
There are two raiders in a chemistry station trailer one level below you. Kill them both, then jump down to their level and continue deeper into the quarry.
Keep pushing through the winding path of the quarry and make your way down to the bottom. If you didn’t already kill him, the raider boss will be waiting for you. Be careful if you’re coming here the first time, as the raider boss will be at least level 30. If you have a crit saved up, now’s a great time to use it.
After eliminating all the raiders, feel free to loot the quarry in peace. There are three mirelurk pens here as well. Be sure to inspect all of them in V.A.T.S as sometimes, one of them is a legendary enemy.
In total, you can expect to get around 20 aluminum cans from Thicket Excavations.
Mahkra Fishpacking is one heck of a trek, so pack your hiking boots. Mahkra Fishpacking is on the far northeastern side of the map, not too far from the Nakano Residence (Starting point of the Far Harbor DLC).
Reaching Mahkra Fishpacking will take you through hostile territory and plenty of bad guys if you’re not careful. I recommend starting from The Slog, as Mahkra is almost a straight shot northeast from there. On the way, feel free to liberate Coastal Cottage to gain access to it as a settlement.
From the mountaintop of Coastal Cottage, you’ll be able to see Mahra Fishpacking plain as day in the difference.
Make your way down the mountain and to the bridge. Use V.A.T.S. to pinpoint the location of some frag mines. There will be several of them on the bridge. After clearing them out, head across. Mahkra Fishpacking will be to your left.
You’ll come across a gruesome scene once you reach Mahkra, as the place is the site of a raider massacre (That you didn’t commit). I recommend looting the entire exterior now. It might be a good idea to fast-travel back to Coast Cottage and store your loot in the workshop there.
Head inside, and you’ll soon hear the bee boo boop sounds of Institute Synths. Make your way to the bottom level by using the lift in the center of the main floor. If you are already an ally of the Institute, the Synths here will be non-hostile. If not, you’ll have to shoot your way through them.
There’s a trapdoor on the roof of Mahkra Fishpacking that you can use to get the drop on some synths on the upper catwalk. Regardless of the path you take, deal with all the Synths inside so you can loot in peace.
In the deepest end of Mahkra Fishpacking is an assembly line with an endless amount of trays. Take all the trays off this assembly line and off the nearby shelves to get yourself a total of 84 trays.
Be careful when using the lift to head back up to the main floor, as Synths will have spawned here now. Take care of them and head outside, where you will have to deal with more Synths. After the smoke closes, collect your spoils and head home.
Question: What Other Areas are Good for Farming Aluminum?
Answer: As a rule of thumb, you can expect a good amount of aluminum from any vaults, clinics, hospitals, or medical centers.
Question: Should I Keep Buying Aluminum Shipments After I Reach Scrapper rank 3?
Answer: I would honestly say no. At that point, you’ll be getting 20+ aluminum from scrapping a single gun. Save your caps to buy shipments for harder to acquire crafting components.
Question: Any Tips for Efficiently Managing Aluminum Supply in the Early Game?
Answer. Ignore the deeper elements of settlement building for a while. Building settlements up uses a lot of components, not just aluminum. Also, be a scrooge when you upgrade weapons. Don’t try to experiment with a bunch of different guns. Pick a few and stick with them.
That about does it for my aluminum guide! Now that you know everything about aluminum and how best to acquire it, all that’s left is to get your hands dirty out in the Commonwealth yourself.
Crafting component shortages are a massive pain in the rear and a huge buzzkill. Fewer things worse in Fallout 4 than getting your hands on an awesome new weapon or armor piece and not being able to mod it because you lack the components. With our guides, you’ll never have to worry about that again.
See you out in the wastes!