FOUNDRY – Main Bus Guide (Layouts and Tips)

This guide provides helpful layouts, ideas, and tricks to keep your factory organized and prevent a messy tangle of conveyors!

Guide to Building a Main Bus

Main Bus Explained

For those new to factory games, the term “Main Bus” might not make sense initially. By the end of this guide, you’ll understand what they are and how to use them effectively to avoid a conveyor spaghetti mess. A main bus refers to a single line transferring items between two points, similar to data transfer in computing.

Our buses will consist of long parallel lines of conveyors. Items are taken off the main bus, processed into other items, and then placed back onto the bus or stored for later use. The strength of this approach is that no matter where you are on the main bus, you’ll always have access to the resources produced further up the line. This layout is extremely adaptable when encountering new items to produce for progression, as you don’t know what resources you’ll need later and in what quantities. Having access to everything at once makes things much easier. A main bus is generally considered the best way to learn a factory game due to this flexibility.

This guide aims to show good habits for constructing your main bus rather than providing a carbon copy layout to follow each time.

How to Plan the Layout

First, look at the map and plan the direction for your bus. Initially, your base will be small, but as your factory expands, the main bus will become quite long. Ensure you have enough space to expand the conveyors without running into unexpected obstacles like mountains.

For this example, we’ll make a North-to-South bus, with the conveyors going in that direction (arrows annotate belt direction). While you can turn a main bus later if you run out of room, it’s generally avoided.

Another important part of planning is determining how many conveyors to group and the gap between sections. In Foundry, there’s no limitation, so you’re free to make belt sections as wide as you like. However, try to keep them multiples of 2 to balance conveyors more easily later on.

As a general example, let’s assume we’re using a 4-conveyor – 2-wide gap – 4-conveyor layout, and move on to the next step.

Getting Items On/Off The Bus

We need to consider how to get items off the main bus for use, or put items back on when needed. Keeping belt widths as multiples of 2 becomes important here.

On the right is a belt splitter arrangement. The purpose is to preserve belt throughput in case of overflow. If using a different splitter that completely stops the closest belt’s flow, the total throughput is cut in half. With a single belt splitting into two, you’d only get 160 items/min maximum instead of 320.

You don’t need deep technical knowledge, but understanding the reasoning helps make an efficient bus. Use the belt splitter that preserves throughput down the entire bus.

In Foundry, you can set priority outputs on balancers by clicking the switch on the output side. The priority side gets first access to incoming items, useful for prioritizing production lines.

Putting items onto the bus works similarly – use the same splitter design but input belts from the back instead of taking them off the front.

Belt Balancing

Periodically balance your belts throughout the bus using 4-lane balancers. These are easy to make and don’t take much space, favoring 4-belt buses.

Balance belts because each splitter takes from one line, potentially underutilizing others. Balancing spreads the load evenly across all belts for full resource utilization.

Try alternating which belt set you pull from to reduce frequent balancing needs. But if one belt is nearly empty while others are full, it’s time to balance.

Laying Out Production Lines

  • Initially, get basic resources like xenoferrite plates onto your main bus.
  • Dedicate enough belts based on estimated need (4 belts for xenoferrite plates in this example).
  • Design furnace arrays to be tilable for easy expansion (example layout shown).

Note the gap between closest belts above final crusher to prevent ore rubble contamination

This design relies on the Tier 2 Smelting recipe, so ensure you have “Ore Refinement” technology.

Output Integration

Output of each furnace line feeds directly into the main bus.

Use the same tilable setup for technum rods (5 smelter lines instead of 4).

Rationale becomes clear when producing electronics from technum rods.

Electronics Production

  • Dedicate 4 technum rod belts for 2 electronics belts
  • Keep 1 technum rod belt for other uses
  • This ratio accounts for electronics being used extensively

Machinery Parts

  • Use 2 xenoferrite plate belts for machinery parts (1:1 ratio)
  • Plates have more remaining use cases than rods

Machine Tiers

  • Examples use Mk2 assemblers to show proper input:output ratios
  • Feel free to use your available machine tiers
  • Build partially initially to supply base, then expand later

Key Takeaways:

  • Design tilable production lines for easy scaling
  • Allocate belts based on projected demand
  • Maintain proper input:output ratios
  • Build incrementally as needed

The guide emphasizes creating modular, easily expandable production lines with the right input/output balance to smoothly supply your factory’s needs.

The 3rd Dimension

  • Foundry allows stacking belts on top of each other, unlike being restricted to a single dimension in some games.
  • If you run out of horizontal space, stack belts vertically while leaving enough vertical clearance (3+ tile gap recommended).
  • Utilize freight elevators to access the higher stacked belt layers.
  • Leave 4-5 tiles of space between the main bus and machine rows to allow for elevator access later.
  • Avoid falling into the trap of spaghetti belts – plan for expansion by giving yourself ample space.

What to Put on the Bus

  • The simple answer is to put everything you might need on the main bus.
  • Put as many different ingredient types as you anticipate needing.
  • If something is missed initially, you can always add it to the bus later.
  • Determine the number of belts for each item based on expected demand.

Recommended ratios (adjust per desired factory scale):

  • 2 belts of Xenoferrite Plates
  • 1 belt of Technum Rods
  • 4 belts of Electronics
  • 4 belts of Advanced Machinery Parts
  • 2 belts of Machinery Parts
  • 2 belts of Advanced Circuits
  • 1 belt of Energy Cells
  • 1 belt of Concrete
  • 1 belt of Polymer Boards
  • 1 belt of Glass
  • 2 belts of Steel

The key principles are thoughtful planning, utilizing vertical space efficiently, leaving room for expansion, and balancing supply based on anticipated resource demands for scalable growth.

Jan Bonkoski
About Jan Bonkoski 962 Articles
Jan Bakowski aka Lazy Dice, was always interested in gaming and writing. His love of gaming began with The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time (Nintendo 64) back in 1998. He’s been making game guides since 2012. Sharing his gaming experience with other players has become not only his hobby but also his job. In his free time, he plays on Steam Deck.

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