Understanding how to obtain crafting materials is one of the essential pieces of knowledge you can have in ARK. Crafting materials like polymer are the basis of every machine, weapon, or base you craft for yourself.
With so many different collection methods and varied uses, it’s important to understand each one to successfully craft everything you need to tame wild creatures and survive harsh landscapes.
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What is Polymer in Ark?
The description of polymer in ARK explains that it’s a lightweight material that can be heat-treated so that it’s pliable. Once it’s flexible, you can shape it into different kinds of casings.
Polymer is often used for more advanced weapons, machines, and armor. While it’s relatively easy to gather, it’s not something you need at the earliest levels.
How to Make Polymer in ARK
Depending on which is easier for you, you can make or gather polymer in ARK. One type of polymer is the standard item that you craft. The other is an organic polymer that you can obtain from certain animals.
Each type of polymer is interchangeable in every recipe. The main benefit of crafted polymer is that you can stack 100 together, and it doesn’t spoil. Organic polymer does spoil and only stacks up to 20 in your inventory.
Before you can make polymer in the Fabricator, you have to unlock the polymer engram at level 48. The option to make it won’t appear if the engram is still locked.
- Place 2 obsidian in your inventory.
- Place 2 cementing paste or achatina paste in your inventory.
- Look at the Fabricator and press the Use key to open the radial menu.
- Choose Access Inventory.
- Drag the obsidian and cementing or achatina pastes into the Fabricator’s inventory.
- Right-click on the polymer engram inside the Fabricator. If you don’t see it right away, you can search for polymer in the search menu at the top.
- Choose Craft One.
- Drag the polymer out of your inventory if desired once crafting is complete.
One of the most challenging parts of making polymer is finding the materials required to make it. Obsidian, cementing paste, and achatina paste aren’t necessarily easy to come by in the starter zones.
Obsidian is mined with a metal pick. The deposits look like shiny, smooth black rocks.
If you’re hunting for obsidian, look near volcanic areas and in high places on most maps. For Scorched Earth, check out the caves if you need obsidian.
An ankylosaur, magmasaur, or phoenix will also do an excellent job harvesting a great deal of obsidian at once. Their inventory space can also help you carry more home at a time than you would be able to if you were doing it yourself.
A dunkleosteus also has a 75 percent reduction in weight for obsidian. You could bring a harvesting tame and then pass the obsidian into the dunk’s inventory to help bring even more home. The argentavis and the ravager also have weight-reduction bonuses for obsidian.
Gathering Cementing Paste or Achatina Paste
You can choose whether to use cementing paste or achatina paste to craft polymer. It doesn’t matter either way – you end up with the same thing when the crafting is done.
Cementing paste can be gathered or crafted in a few different ways.
- Open a giant beaver dam to gather the goodies inside, including large amounts of cementing paste. Be prepared to flee quickly because the beavers get angry when you open their dams and will attack you.
- You can also add four chitin, keratin, or shell fragments to eight stones in the mortar and pestle to craft cementing paste. Don’t forget to unlock the engram at level 13.
- A tamed beezlebufo can create cementing paste by eating insects. They don’t look very exciting, but they’re one of the most useful tames in ARK.
Many people gather achatina paste by taming achatinas with sweet vegetable cake. They will continue producing paste as tames that you can collect and use in recipes.
Another way I like to gather achatina paste is to fly one of my tames to an area with achatinas. I pick one of them up using my pteranodon usually and then fly them back to my base, where I’ve made a stone enclosure for them. This way, I don’t have to tame them with expensive sweet vegetable cake, and they still produce achatina paste for me to pick up.
This method’s success varies because sometimes they’ll despawn since they aren’t tame. However, while you’re playing, it’s a quick and easy way to get achatina paste before you have access to sweet vegetable cake.
Obtaining Organic Polymer
The organic polymer is possibly not as good a choice as standard polymer, simply because it spoils. However, it’s also easy to get and doesn’t have to be crafted. There are a few different ways to obtain it.
- Kill a kairuku, mantis, hesperornis, or karkinos. Once they’re dead, you can use your pick to harvest their bodies for organic polymer. However, if you use a sword or a wooden club, you’ll get more organic polymer. You get the same yields with a chainsaw, pelagornis, sabertooth, direbear, or thylacoleo as well.
- On Aberration and Valguero, you can find white plants with bulbs. They can be harvested by hand and, if you do, you can get organic polymer.
- Kill a deathworm and check its inventory. Organic polymer drops from these creatures.
- On Valguero, there are ichthyosaurus bodies on the beaches. They’re dead as soon as you arrive – they spawn in as corpses. You can harvest these for organic polymer as well.
- Tamed achatinas produce organic polymer in addition to achatina paste.
It’s better to wait until you’re ready to use the organic polymer before you gather it. Since it spoils so quickly, you want to take it to your base and use it in any recipe you choose right away.
To make polymer, you must have a fabricator up and running. The engram to create it unlocks at level 48. To run it, you must have gasoline in its inventory.
Making a fabricator requires the following items:
- Add your content…35 metal ingots or scrap metal ingots. Either works, and there is no advantage to using one over the other to craft this machine.
- 50 sparkpowder
- 15 crystal or primal crystal. As with the ingots, either work without any changes.
- 10 oil
- 20 cementing paste or achatina paste.
When you put gasoline into the fabricator, it uses one every 15 minutes. Even if you only craft for one minute, the fabricator will keep using the gas in its inventory. Even turning off the fabricator will eliminate the gas it’s already using. Consider storing your fuel elsewhere and only adding what’s needed during crafting.
Repurposing Old Items to Get Polymer
You can also get polymer with the industrial grinder later in the game. You will have already had to collect polymer just to make an industrial grinder – but destroying certain things in it will return polymer to you if you’re in a pinch and need the resource right away.
To get organic polymer from the industrial grinder, you need to grind items that include polymer as a base component. It doesn’t matter whether you used organic or crafted polymer to make the item. It will only return organic polymer to you.
Uses for Polymer
Polymer is considered an uncommon resource that weighs 0.25 pounds each. Each polymer sheet requires two seconds of crafting time, and you gain 2.24 crafting XP for creating it.
There are so many uses for polymer that it’s well worth taking the time to craft and stockpile.
Polymer is used to create:
- Gas Mask
- SCUBA gear
- Tek armor
- Megalodon saddle
- Behemoth gateway
- Industrial machines like the cooker, forge, and grinder
- Assault rifle
- Auto turret
- Rocket launcher
Making polymer will help propel you to your next level of ARK weapons, armor, and devices. Once you have the basics down, it’s easy to keep your stockpiles high and have enough to use as needed.