Making Money with Crafting - Kenshi Guides
Crafting in Kenshi can be quite profitable depending on the route you take and what items you decide to make. Keep in mind that a general rule of thumb for Kenshi is that you will not start making money through crafting until you've leveled up your skill quite a bit. For those of you who can't wait and want something to make early game for good money check out the Electrical Components Money Making Guide.
I have picked a total of 4 different routes that you can follow for making money with trade skills, as aforementioned Electrical Components is the best for early game. It uses your Science skill and having a low skill only means you make them slower instead of producing a lower quality item. Skeleton Repair Kits are another option and similar in this sense as they use Robotics and the skill only influences how fast you make them.
The last 2 options available are Trader's Leathers (Armour Smithing) and Weapon Smithing. Trader's Leathers is another decent early game route if you buy a building in a town that sells a lot of Leather (like Heng or Sho-Battai). Weapon Smithing is something that will not be profitable until mid to end game since you need to research a lot of Technology to make good weapons. Below I go into more detail about each route for those of you who want a longer synopsis.
Trader's Leathers (Armour Smithing): This is one of the early game routes available to you if you buy a building in a town like Sho-Battai or Heng or have a character run from town to town to buy you Leather. Once you start making [High] quality Trader's Leathers you will be making triple your investment. The leather upkeep of mass producing this item isn't as bad as you may think, it's easy to buy all you need in 1 town if a couple shops sell it.
Skeleton Repair Kits (Robotics): You will not be able to make these until you've found a few Ancient Science Books and Engineering Research and unlocked Robotics in the tech tree. Once you can make these they're a fantastic source of income along with raising your Robotics skill which is useful for making Skeleton Limbs and repairing Skeletons/Limbs. One thing to note about Skeleton Repair Kits too is that they don't weigh much and take up very little inventory space for the amount they are worth.
Electrical Components (Science): I really only recommend this for early game in Kenshi. You can find quite a few towns with Copper Mines outside, mass farm it and then turn the Copper Ore into Electrical Components to sell for a small profit. As aforementioned earlier on this page the best thing about Electrical Components is you can do it with a very low skill and only suffer a workspeed penalty. Once you reach mid to late game I would recommend you do Skeleton Repair Kits instead of Electrical Components for money.
Guardless Katana (Weapon Smithing): Weapon Smithing is a bit of an interesting case because it's probably the best path for making money however it'll take forever to pay off. You can start making a profit at Mk I to Mk III weapons but in order to make them you'll need to unlock Advanced Weapon Smithing which will require Ancient Science Books and Engineering Research. The final rank (for the most money) is Edgewalkers which will require AI Cores as well as Ancient Science Books and Engineering Research. I find that by the time I can collect all these reagents I am usually done the money grind.