Acquiring Research Data (explained in "How to get Research Data" chapter) is only the beginning of the route to create your own powerful weapons, elements of armor and Augments. You will also need large quantities of crafting materials that will be used to create the items you're interested in.
A quick glance at the minerals, tech minerals and bio minerals at one of the vendors can overwhelm one. There are dozens of available crafting materials and the player is thrown into the deep, as you won't really know where you can look for any of them - and you won't be able to purchase them with Credits, as during the first 15-20 hours of the game you won't have much and the prices can be astronomical. Fortunately, there are numerous methods to acquire them without spending any money and everything can be done while you are completing main and side quests. To acquire them, you can:
- Send Strike Teams on missions. When a Strike Team mission is successful, you will be given various rewards, with a chance to get a mineral box containing some crafting materials. The harder the mission (there are following ranks: Bronze, Silver, Gold), the better the rewards and higher amount (and rarer type) of minerals from a box.
- Kill enemies and collect items that they drop. Not every enemy will drop something, but it's still worth to scan the battlefield after you've taken out all of the enemies to check if there are some valuable items lying on the ground.
- Open containers scattered around the planets and buildings. There are hundreds of containers scattered on the surfaces of planets. Most of them contain items of almost no value, but some can hold extremely valuable treasures, allowing you to save hundreds of Credits. Explore the buildings and planets surfaces thoroughly - if there's a mysterious object in the distance there's a chance that a container filled with valuable items is located near it. Unlocking the Reconnaissance Cryo Pod from the Military tab will mark all of the hidden containers near Forward Stations. Those containers are full of extremely valuable items, as well as rare crafting materials.
- Open Cryo Pods associated with Andromeda viability (AVP). Hunting Parties will allow you to get a certain amount of bio materials, Special Forces will reward you with tech materials and Mining Operations will give you random type of crafting materials. The first two can be found in the Military tab and the third one in Science.
- Deconstruct weapons and armors. In order to do so, open the inventory screen, select the item you want to deconstruct and press the button shown on the bottom of the screen. Before you deconstruct the item you will be presented with a window showing the exact types and amounts of items you will get in return. This is a good way to acquire some of the rarer materials and a better idea than selling unwanted items to a vendor.