To obtain a recipe, you have a chance of finding it in pirate stations or you can buy in in any shop . In shops, you can buy mineral combining/breaking recipes for 10.000 Credits in "Recipes" tab. To buy Block (and Component) recipe, find the respective item in shop and click "Buy Recipe" next to its credit cost. Block recipes do not cost credits, but actual blocks itself, so in order to get a recipe for Hardened Hull (Black), you will need to pay 5000 Hardened Hull (Black) blocks. This means that not all recipes are worth geting for everyone, like Faction Module recipe.
When you right click on the recipe, you see a list of materials it requires. Recipes have a random list of materials needed to produce block that is generated when you buy it, so if you get very complicted recipe, you're better off using it just untill you get another 5000 blocks to buy a new recipe. Its material requirements determine a luck based quality factor, and the other one that you can have influense on is recipe level.You can also sell recipes for around 2500 of the blocks back.
Recipes found or bought have initial level of 1, which means that for the given materials they will output 1 desired block. Level can be increased by making a number of blocks given under "Next level progress:", and each level adds +1 output block for same materials. Here's a little table I made (Not realy confirmed...):
Next level progress:
L1 to L2: 6400 blocks;
L2 to L3: 16.640 blocks;
L3 to L4: 33.024 blocks;
L4 to L5: 59.238 blocks;
L5 to L6: 101.181 blocks;
L6 to L7: 168.289 blocks;
L7 to L8: 275.664
L8 to L9: 447.461
L9 to L10: 722.338
L10 to L11: 1.162.142
L11 to L12: 1.865.829
L12 to L13: 2.991.729
L13 to L14: 4.793.169
L14 to L15: 7.675.473
L15 to L16: 12.287.160
For levels > 3 the required amount can be aproximated by multiplying the current amount by 2 and subtracting the amount required for level-2.
To make the result more accurate, calculate 256 * (1.6 ^(level-3)) and subtract it from the previous result.
Lets say one wants to calculate how many blocks he needs to reach L10 from L9
447.461* 2 = 894.922
894.922- 168.289 = 726.633
256 * (1.6^6) = 4.295
726.633 - 4.295 = 722.338
In this particular case it leads to the same result, but it might be different for greater numbers.
Keep in mind that since each level adds +1 output, each level you are producing more and more blocks, and with simple enough materials, higher levels are not as hard as they look. Also, every Factory Input Enhancer speeds up the process in exchange for increased energy requirements.
The recipes needed to adjust the strength of mineral can be bought from Shops in the "Recipes" tab. There are Coarse and Refine recipes for every mineral in game: Coarse breaks L2+ minerals into 10.000 of lower level minerals (down to L1), and Refine does the opposite, combines 10.000 lower level minerals into higher level (up to L5)
To use one, simply place it in the upper left corner of a Factory Input, and add the required materials to the Factory. If you link Factories together, they will feed the required materials into one another. This can be used to make a Factory system nearly automated, like a Hopper into an assembly line. After a short time, and granted all the materials, the item itself is generated at the cost of the raw materials.
For futher instructions on factories and recipe usage, see: Crafting