Fallout 4: Contraptions – 10 DLC Facts You Need To Know


The Contraptions Workshop is a complex addition to Fallout 4, with lots of machinery and no tutorials in sight. There are so many secret facets to the add-on, we’ve put together a list of 10 facts that just might make your Contraptions experience much more bearable. From secret armor customization additions, to useful machining tips, to flat-out hilarious item uses, keep scrolling to find our list of essential info on Bethesda’s second workshop DLC.

Explore Gameranx’s massive list of guides, how-to’s, secret locations, and everything else a fresh Vault 111 escapee needs to thrive on the Fallout 4 Ultimate Commonwealth Guide and become a true post-apocalyptic survivor.

Uncover everything there is to know about the Contraptions Workshop DLC with all the guides on Gameranx:

Contraptions – 10 Facts You Need To Know

No wasting time. Here are 10 facts you need to know about the Contraptions Workshop content.

#1: Builders Must Be Connected To A Terminal

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Builders are the center of the Contraptions Workshop DLC, but getting these personal factories to start producing isn’t 100% obvious if you’re just getting started. There are three requirements to get a Builder, well, building;

  1. Power
    • Most builders require between [4-12] power, but other types might require more. Make sure to check the power requirements in the Workshop menu before placing your preferred type. Each type produces a different type of item.
  2. Terminal
    • Terminals are computer screens you can use to access controls for different Contraptions. Once connected, use the terminal and select your builder to assign a particular item to construct.
    • You don’t need to directly wire a terminal to a builder — just make sure the terminal is connected to the same power network as the builder. Ex. Connect the terminal to the generator providing power to the builder.
  3. Materials
    • The trickiest part of Contraptions is cobbling together all the junk you’ll need to complete those crafting projects. Craft items by selecting the project you want completed through a terminal connected to the builder. Check the material requirements in the terminal’s builder menu.
    • Next, select to [Transfer] materials to the builder’s inventory. You can also use hoppers or sorters to connected by conveyor belt and run items directly into the input end of the builder to provide the machine with resources.

Getting items to builders can be a tricky, time-consuming process. If you’re like us, you keep all your items stored in the Workshop inventory shared between all your connected supply line network settlements. That’s a lot of junk — instead of sorting through it manually, let’s get a machine to do the hard work for us.

Want extra help collecting tons of materials? Check out even more detailed tips for earning infinite crafting junk here:

#2: The Vacuum Hopper Will Make Your Life Easier

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The Vacuum Hopper is a godsend when it comes to extracting items from your massive Workshop inventory. The Vacuum Hopper, when connected to a power source, siphons items out of a closed container and puts the items on a conveyor belt, where they can be sorted or sent into builders.

  • Place the Vacuum Hopper on the ground right next to your Workshop bench. The hopper functions only if you’re adjacent to the bench — although it will work through walls.

Don’t want to clog your conveyors? A connected terminal can set the output timer on the Vacuum Hopper to delay when items drop out into the conveyor. You can also set the output force if you want to speed things up.

Learn more about builders and hoppers with this workshop guide:

#3: The Fusion Generator Solves All Your Power Needs

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Another insanely useful addition, the Fusion Generator provides 100 units of power. That’s enough to keep any complex manufacturing facility running without having to constantly make room for new giant ‘large’ generators.

The Fusion Generator has some serious requirements. Here’s everything you’ll need to build one:

  • (12) Gears, (10) Screws, (20) Copper, (25) Aluminum, (12) Nuclear Materials, (8) Crystal, (2) Rubber
  • Req: Rank 4 Science! Perk

If you’ve got all that, you’ll have a single source of easy power for everything in a settlement. Dealing with the mess of wires can be a problem, but Contraptions features a solution for that too — Wall Pass-Through Conduits.

#4: Use Power Conduits To Run Wires Through Walls

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Conduits are a new way to run wire through your settlements. Now you can lay conduit lengths across areas of the settlement, snapping each piece of pipe to the next and connecting wires only where they’re needed. This solves plenty of messy wire problems — but most of it, the Sole Survivor can now run wire through walls instead of use random openings or windows.

  • Go to Power -> Conduits -> Wall Pass-Through Conduit
  • To make this conduit work, place it on one side of a wall. Now you can snap a second Wall Pass-Through Conduit onto the other side of the wall.
  • You still have to connect wires to the inputs on both sides, but you can snap other types of conduits to the upper/lower connectors to keep your electrical connections orderly.

This makes indoor factories possible, or you can create dedicated generator rooms instead of creating generators all over your base. Speaking of building your base…

#5: Elevators Only Snap to Barn / Warehouse Structures

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The elevators are an awesome addition to Contraptions and make towers much easier to climb. Still, there are some bugs to work out — elevators don’t seem to function properly when it comes to structures. Wood, metal, and concrete cause problems for elevators.

  • If you want to connect elevators to your structure, you’ll have to build it out of the barn / warehouse tilesets.

Why is this a problem? Elevators really don’t work with other tilesets, mainly because the connections are improperly aligned — the heights don’t match up. You can still cobble together something with steps and gap-jumps but if you want a clean and properly-aligned elevator, you’re going to have to use the barn or warehouse structure sets.

#6: Contraptions Stop Working When You’re Away

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Let’s get some other limitations out of the way. Contraptions, such as builders and other automated devices — they all stop working the moment you aren’t paying attention.

  • Builders stop producing items if the Sole Survivor is; away from the settlement, waiting in a chair, or sleeping in a bed.

That’s right. There’s no reason to wait when it comes to Contraptions. Unlike settlers assigned jobs, the contraptions won’t work in the background while you do other things. You need to be there and watching the Rube-Goldberg machinery do its thing to get all the items you want.

#7: Don’t Store Equipped Display Cases

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One final bug / issue / big deal we’ve found is with the new Display Cases. These awesome add-on exclusives allow the Sole Survivor to display cool guns and amazing armor in your settlement. They’re easy to construct, but there’s one big problem — storing an equipped display deletes whatever that display was carrying.

  • To display items on Weapon / Armor Displays, you must equip or place the item in that display’s inventory.
  • If you select the ‘Store’ option, placing the Display in your Workshop Inventory, you will not recollect whatever item was equipped onto the Display.
  • The equipment on the Display will disappear forever.

Basically — always unequip your displays before moving, storing, or dismantling! It’s very easy to lose unique armor and weapons this way. Keep a fresh save file handy before messing around with these buggy items.

Learn more on our Fallout 4  guides and PSA:

#8: The Fireworks Mortar is Also a Weather Machine

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The Firework Mortar is a new way to celebrate in your settlement. But, the Mortar is actually cooler than that — by crafting specialized shells, the Sole Survivor can change the weather or launch flares and call for Minutemen reinforcements at a moment’s notice.

  • Weather Change Shells and Emergency Flare Shells must be crafted.
    • Go to the Chemistry Station and select Fireworks -> Scroll down to find all types of Mortar Shells.
  • Weather Change Shells come in three varieties: Clear, Radstorm, and Rain.
    • Clear requires: (1) Adhesive, (1) Cloth, (1) Fertilizer, and (1) Gold
    • Radstorm requires: (1) Adhesive, (1) Cloth, (1) Fertilizer, and (1) Nuclear Material
    • Rain requires: (1) Adhesive, (1) Cloth, (1) Fertilizer, and (1) Silver

Connect the Mortar to power and whatever shells are loaded will launch. After a few moments, the skill will change to reflect whichever type of Weather Change shell you’ve used. In our testing the weather doesn’t last very long – a few minutes tops – so don’t expect this to be a permanent change. If you want to keep the radstorm going, be prepared to build plenty of Weather Change shells.

Take control over weather itself and learn even more about fireworks here:

#9: Upgrade Your Power Armor With Two New Custom Paint Jobs

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Contaptions includes two bonus Power Armor paint jobs — and they’re totally free! No need to collect junks or resources. These two paint jobs freshen up your T-51 Power Armor with Abraxo or Sugar-Bombs advertisements. To find the paint, follow these steps;

  • In the Power Armor mod screen, select each piece of T-51 armor, then select the second mod slot. This is the ‘Material Mod’ slot in the menu.
  • Here, you’ll find the Abraxo Paint Job and the Sugar Bombs Paint Job.
    • Both paint jobs require no crafting components or special perks.
    • Abraxo increases agility with all pieces of a Power Armor set painted.
    • Sugar Bombs increase strength with all pieces of a Power Armor set painted.
  • To gain the Agility or Strength bonus, you’ll need to have the same paint on every piece of T-51 Power Armor.
    • This includes: Helmet, Left Arm, Left Leg, Right Arm, Right Leg, and Torso

For even more details, including some T-51 Power Armor locations, browse over to our full guide here;

#10: The Junk Mortar Can Launch You and Your Companions

The unassuming Junk Mortar has one hilarious feature most survivors are bound to miss. You can launch yourself  out of the mortar, along with any other trash you toss into the basin.

Hop inside and activate the device to go for a ride. Watch as xX Cavemann on Youtube shows us how it’s done.


Not a long ride, but still worth it. Know any other tips and tricks every Contraptions owner should know about? Sound off in the comments!

Need more Fallout 4 DLC guides? Check out these Far Harbor secrets, locations, and walkthroughs: