Research and Development

From Space Station 14 Wiki

Research and Development

Research and Development (commonly called R&D or RnD) is the job of the Scientists. The department typically lies behind purple and grey doors. In the department typically exists a set of Lathe and R&D machines. Often you will see lockers with lab equipment in them.

R&D gameplay largely revolves around the acquisition and use of research points to gain new technologies for the station.

Point Generation

Research points can be acquired through a few different sources.

The most profitable form of point generation is Xenoarcheology, which is the process of analyzing and activating different randomly generated artifacts that can be found via events, salvage debris, and by ordering them from cargo. Most artifacts have more than one "Stimulus-Reaction" combination (known scientifically as Nodes), so make sure to scan and activate as many of them as you can before destroying the artifact for points, selling it to cargo, or keeping it around because it's effects are cool enough to warrant keeping.

Another highly valuable source of research points is Anomalous Research. Most R&D departments come equipped with an Anomaly Generator, Anomalous Particle Emitters (A.P.E.) and Anomaly Vessels, which are used to spawn, interact with, and generate points from anomalies respectively. Anomalies can come in different forms, ranging from raging balls of pink-hot matter, to electrically-discharging motes of light, to radioactive gravity wells, so make sure to wear some protective gear while studying them.

Points can also be acquired through research disks, which can be found in maintenance, salvaged from space, or given as a result of identifying a disease.

R&D System


The new and improved R&D UI!

In the R&D computer new technologies can be unlocked via points. To research a technology, click on it if it's in the Unlockable technologies column. Technologies in the Future technologies are locked behind others, requiring you to research a previous technology (in the Unlockable technologies column). Technologies in the Unlocked technologies section have already been researched.

Alternative Research

Technology Disk Printer.png

There is another method to research a technology, and that is using the Technology Disk Terminal. If there is no such console available within the station, it can be created after researching the Tier 1 Experimental Technology, "Alternative Research".

By spending 1000 research points, a technology disk would be dispensed, containing the recipe of a single random item (of any tier) for the lathes to fabricate. The random item ranges from a Retractor within the "Advanced Surgery" technology, a redundant item you've already researched, to the highly-sought-after (and expensive) satchel of holding.

When used early into the round, it may reward the research department with end-tier items immediately at the cost of the primary research progress. This is essentially gambling with research points, so ensure that your department agrees with this plan. When used late into the round, it may grant the research department recipes of technologies that have been locked out of the direct research method of unlocking the technology.




The Autolathe doesn't require any research but only makes engineering and salvage tools. Materials must first be inserted into the machine and cannot be extracted. 100 steelcm3 equates to 1 steel sheet.

Example recipes:

Image Name Description
Airlock Painter A tool used to change the color and/or appearance of airlocks.
Crowbar A tool that is needed to pry open unpowered doors.
Gas Analyzer A tool used to find the composition of gasses in the air. Can also detect gasses in pipes.
Global Positioning System A hand-held device used to see what the GPS coordinates ware of your position in the map.
LV cable coil A piece of wire that can be used to connect powerered objects to an APC. Refer to Power.
Multitool A tool that can be used for Hacking.
Pickaxe mining.png
Pickaxe A tool that can be used by a Salvage Specialist for mining ore.
Screwdriver A tool that is needed to open/close panels of devices such as doors. It is also needed when building some items.
T-Ray Scanner A tool that shows underground wires and pipes.
Utility Belt A belt that stores Engineering tools.
Welding Tool A tool that enables objects to be welded open/closed. Welded items must need a Welding Tool to be unwelded. It is also needed when building some items. Can be used to repair windows and other objects.
Wirecutter A tool that enables you to cut wires of powered devices such as doors and vending machines. Refer to Hacking. You may also need to cut wires of some objects as part of their deconstruction process.
Wrench A tool that enables you to anchor / unanchored objects. Anchored objects cannot be moved until unanchored. Unanchored objects are unpowered.



The Protolathe is a machine capable of printing most of what you've researched. It can make things such from beakers or ammo. Materials must first be inserted into the machine but can be extracted with the Material Sheet Printing research. 100 steel equates to 1 steel sheet.

Note that for some machines (such as the Cloner), higher quality parts can be used to improve the quality of the machine. For example low quality components for a Cloner results in a 50% chance of failure to clone. A low-capacity power cell has less charge than a high-capacity power cell. Yet higher quality parts require better research and more materials.

A lot of the parts available in the Protolathe are used to craft something. Use the Craft hotkey to open the Craft dialog. By default this should be 'G'.

Machine boards can be inserted into a Machine Frame whilst electronics can be inserted into computers or other machines built with Construction.

Machine Parts

Every buildable machine requires some amount of machine parts to make. There are currently 3 different parts - Matter bins, Manipulators, and Capacitors. While the base versions of these components provide no benefit to their machines other than their base functions, higher tiers of parts can be researched and made, which give boosts to certain aspects of machines.

Image Name Description
Matter bin Associated with material efficiency.
Manipulator Associated with machine speed.
Capacitor Associated with power efficiency and other misc. improvements.

Power Cells

Power cells are basically just batteries, required by certain devices to function, such as medical scanners and anomaly locator. Each battery has its own respective research node, except for potato batteries which can be made by botany(?)

Image Type Charge Capacity (mAh)
Potato 200
Small capacity 360
Medium capacity 720
High capacity 1080


Various tools which the protolathe can print.

Image Name Description Research
Scalpel.png Scalpel Used to make precision cuts in the skin and tendons. Advanced surgery
Drill.png Drill Used to make precise holes in bone and cartilage. Advanced surgery
Cautery.png Cautery Used to cauterize open wounds. Advanced surgery
Retractor.png Retractor Used to hold loose skin in place and hold incisions open. Advanced surgery
Hemostat.png Hemostat Used to clamp blood vessels and arteries shut. Advanced surgery
Saw.png Metal Saw Used to saw bones and other hard structures. Advanced surgery
Handheld crew monitor A tool used by the Chief Medical Officer and other medical staff to see the coordinates and vitals of crew staff that have turned on the associated sensors in their jumpsuits.
Bottle.png Bottle A glass bottle container that can hold 30u of liquid. Used by a chemist to store chemicals. Can be drunk from. Does not shatter if dropped. Chemistry technology
Syringe.png Syringe A container that can hold up to 15u of liquid and can draw from / inject into people/animals. Chemistry technology
Dropper A container that holds a tiny amount of liquid. Chemistry technology
Beaker A fragile glass container than can hold 50u and shatters if dropped. Chemistry technology


Large beaker A container that can hold 100u of liquid used by a Chemist or Chef that shatters when dropped. Chemistry technology
Cryostasis beaker Can contain chemicals in low temperatures and ensure that they do not mix. Chemistry technology
Node scanner A tool used by scientists to determine the node of an artifact. Anomaly technology
Anomscanner.png Anomaly scanner A tool used by scientists to gather information on specific anomalies. Anomaly technology
Anomaly locator A tool used by scientists to detect anomalies. Beeps faster the closer it is to an anomaly. Anomaly technology
Chimpbase.png CHIMP handcannon An experimental firearm developed by R&D to contain anomalies. Anomaly technology
Hatchet.png Hatchet A tool used by Botanists used to cut down trees such as apple / banana trees to harvest wood and fruit. Biological technology
Scythe.png Scythe A tool used by Botanists to harvest some types of plants from a hydroponics tray. Biological technology
Mini hoe.png Minihoe A tool used by Botanists to dig weeds out of hydroponics trays. Biological technology
Plant clippers.png Plant clippers A tool used by Botanists to extract seeds from a growing plant. Biological technology
Spade.png Spade A tool used by Botanists to harvest certain plants. Biological technology
Shovel.png Shovel A tool used by Botanists to clear a hydroponics tray of its contents. Biological technology
Mining drill A drill used by a Salvage Specialist to mine rocks faster than a pickaxe. Salvage equipment
Pickaxe mining.png Pickaxe A tool used by Salvage Specialists to dig through rock. Salvage equipment
Bucket.png Bucket Can contain 250u of liquid that is spilled if you trip. You can drink out of a bucket using Alt+click and extract liquid into it from other containers 50u at a time. Cannot be inserted into machines like the ChemDispenser. Used by a Botanist or Janitor. Cleaning technology
Mop A tool used by a Janitor to mop up liquid spillages from floors. Cleaning technology
Advanced mop A high-tech mop that soaks up spills faster and automatically generates water. Cleaning technology
Spray bottle Can hold a little liquid that can be sprayed onto a sentient or floor. Commonly used to hold space cleaner for a Janitor or weed killer for a Security Officer. A Chemist can fill this with the desired liquid. It sprays 5u of liquid at a time. Corrosive chemicals when sprayed on a person can eat through their gear and skin causing Caustic damage. Cleaning technology
Kitchen knife A knife used by a Chef but also a Weapon. Food and beverage technology
Cleaver A tool that a Chef uses to butcher corpses for meat but also a Weapon. Food and beverage technology
Appraisal tool A tool used by Cargo Technicians to see how much each object can be sold for.
RCD Rapid Construction Device, used by Engineers to instantly create walls and floors. RCD
Holofan projector A tool capable of making a holobarrier which prevent the movement of gasses while allowing everything else to move through.
Flashlight Provides a cone of light infront of the holder that is much more illuminating than a PDA. Uses charge from a power cell. Left click to turn on and off. Industrial engineering
Fire extinguisher.png Fire extinguisher A device that sprays water to put out fires or used in Space Navigation. Industrial engineering

Other Items

Image Name Description Required Research
Air Alarm Electronics A component needed to make an air alarm.
APC Electronics A component needed to make an APC (power unit). Electromagnetic theory
Chemical Payload A component needed to make a modular grenade. Chemistry technology
Conveyor Belt When connected to a lever, it can be used to move objects in a single direction as dictated by the lever. Commonly used in Cargo and the Disposal -> Recycling circuit, but also used in certain cargo systems. Industrial engineering
Drone A tool-equipped autonomous drone, currently disabled due to trolling. Robotics
Flourescent Light Tube Light tube for lights on the walls of the station. Electromagnetic theory
Glass Extract some glass from the machine. Material sheet printing
Holofan Projector electronics A component needed to make a Holofan.
HV Cable Coil High Voltage wire. Used to connect power generation to power storage by Engineers. Electromagnetic theory
Incandescent Light Bulb Light bulb for lights on the walls of the station. Electromagnetic theory
Intercom Electronics A component used to make intercom machines. Industrial engineering
Left Borg Arm Used to create Bots such as the MedBot. Will have more uses in the future. Robotics
LV Cable Coil Low Voltage wire. Used to connect APC units to machines such as vending machines, chemistry machines, lights, auto-doors by Engineers. Electromagnetic theory
Mailing Unit Electronics A component used to create a mailing unit.
MV Cable Coil Medium Voltage wire. Used to connect power storage to APC units by Engineers. Electromagnetic theory
Pill Cannister A container that can hold up to 9 pills and used by a Chemist Chemistry technology
Plastic Extract some plastic from the machine Material Sheet Printing
RCD Ammo Ammo for the RCD to create walls/floors
Reinforced Glass Extract some reinforced glass from the machine Material Sheet Printing
Remote Signaller Can be linked to a grenade to trigger it remotely. Electromagnetic theory
Right Borg Arm Used to create Bots such as the MedBot. Robotics
Signal Trigger A type of trigger for a bomb / grenade Electromagnetic theory
Steel Extract some steel from the machine Material Sheet Printing
Timer Trigger A type of trigger for a bomb / grenade. The default timer is 5 seconds. Electromagnetic theory
Voice Trigger A type of trigger for a bomb / grenade Electromagnetic theory

Circuit Imprinter


The Circuit Imprinter is a machine capable of printing machine boards used for creating machines and computers. They require steel, glass and sometimes gold.

Name Required Research
Air Alarm Electronics Industrial engineering
Autolathe Machine Board Industrial engineering
APC electronics Electromagnetic theory
Booze Dispenser Machine Board Food and beverage technology
Circuit Imprinter Machine Board Industrial engineering
Door Electronics Industrial engineering
Fire Alarm Electronics Industrial engineering
Firelock Electronics Industrial engineering
Hotplate Machine Board Chemistry technology
Intercom Electronics Industrial engineering
Mailing Unit Electronics Industrial engineering
Microwave Machine Board Food and beverage technology
Movable Wireless Camera Board Surveillance technology
Ore Processor Machine Board Salvage Equipment
Protoloathe Machine Board Industrial engineering
Reagent Grinder Machine Board Chemistry technology
Substation Machine Board Electromagnetic theory
Surveillance Camera Monitor Board Surveillance technology
Surveillance Camera Router Board Surveillance technology
Surveillance Camera Wireless Router Board Surveillance technology
Surveillance Wireless Camera Monitor Board Surveillance technology
Soda Dispenser Machine Board Food and beverage technology
Technology Disk Terminal Board Scientific technology
Television Board Surveillance technology
Uniform Printer Machine Board Industrial engineering
Wireless Camera Board Surveillance technology

Plan of action

Your main priority at the start of the round is to use the RD computer to research medical machinery & basic parts manufacture , and then everything else. Then it's recommended that you build cloning pods for medbay, chemical dispensers and ChemMasters for chemistry or just hoard them and hand out tricord foam bombs to clowns.


"I can't get any points/I can't print anything"

The likely cause is that the RD Computer/Protolathe isn't synced up with the RD server.

To fix this in the RD Computer/Protolathe click Server list, click on ID x || RDSERVER and then exist the window. Now when you click Sync it should (hopefully) work.

This issue has (hopefully) been fixed on most stations.