As promised so long ago, I have discovered if it is possible to support PLEX for one account via all 3 character slots running PI on one account. Please bear with me, as a detailed analysis will make this entry a little longer, but I don't want to miss vital information.
NULL SEC PI (single character):
Let's give some background:
*Command Center Upgrades 4
*Planet Consolidation 4
Product: Enriched Uranium
Setup (1 day cycles):
*2 Barren Planets making Precious Metals
*1 Lava Planet making Toxic Metals
*1 Ice Planet making Toxic Metals
*1 Barren Planet making Enriched Uranium (90 units/hour)
ISK/Unit of Enriched Uranium at market price :
90 units * 24 hours * 7 days * 6500 ISK/unit = 98.28 million ISK per week.
With the current setup, I had to invest roughly 25 million ISK to build this setup. Skills as they are, this is the max I can do with 1 day cycles on those extraction planets, and as is, my extraction planets still produce more than my processor planet can handle. With Command Center Upgrades 5, I believe I could crank out 130 units/hour on my processor planet, and with Planet Consolidation 5, I believe I could actually make 260 units/hour, although I would need to trade out my 1 day cycles for much shorter ones to keep constant production. So, if we keep 1 day cycles, let's assume we make 200 units/hour across two processor planets.
*Command Center Upgrades 5
*Planet Consolidation 5
*+1 Processor Planet (total 200 units/hour)
*Previous payout * 200/90 = 218.4 million ISK per week.
Monthly Payout: 393.12 million, 873.6 million
LOW SEC PI (single Character):
I have 1 alt, Anjali Subranni, out in Amarr low sec. She actually has 1 Plasma planet to produce Uranium from. I have not achieved the same setup as Truen1ght for varying reasons which I won't go into. However, this analysis need not go very far given the previous analysis.
I've noticed that low-sec raw materials are roughly half to 3/4 of those in null sec. This said, even with the exact same setup, we can easily expect payouts to be at least roughly half of those of the null sec PI manager.
Payout for Level 4 (relevant) PI Skills: 49.14 million ISK per week
Payout for Level 5 (relevant) PI Skills: 109.2 million ISK per week
Monthly Payouts: 196.56 million, 436.8 million
EMPIRE PI (single character):
Given what I've heard from a friend with good PI skills, he barely makes money with PI in EMPIRE. That said, we'll ignore EMPIRE PI as a means for any real ISK gains, and more as a curiosity for people with rocks to suck.
If a person can get even one character into null sec, and run PI with maximum (relevant) skills, it can be expected that the real life player will make roughly 873.6 ISK per month. A quick browse through google shows a median selling price of PLEX at (and let's be generous so that you need not scour EMPIRE for the best price) 350 million ISK. This leaves the player with about 523.6 million ISK surplus every month with which to indulge himself. Total maintenance time cost should be about 20 minutes a day per character (less on some days, more on others, this is an average), so roughly 2 hours per week per character. Total training queue time cost however comes in at approximately 1 month - 1.5 months, mostly devoted to PI, but also somewhat devoted to industrial ship skills.
If a person can get one character into low-sec, with a proper setup and the right planets, said player can generate a little more than half (but let's be lazy and just say half) than what the null sec PI manager does. In the previous iteration of this analysis, the numbers were not quite accurate, and a PLEX was not possible through this solely off of PI. However, given this iteration, the player with half the raw materials but the same setup as the null sec player can make 436.8 million ISK per month, leaving the player with 100 or so million ISK a month with which to indulge himself.
However, even if a person uses a single character in EMPIRE for PI, well, let's just say 1-2 hours of ratting in a Hurricane smashing the belts nets the same profit in the worst case, and that's not saying alot (20-40 million ISK). As such, EMPIRE PI is not my recommendation for anything except to reduce POS operating costs in EMPIRE for production, which is likely the main cash cow anyways.
Please note however that each level 4 planet cost me roughly 6 million to setup. I do not know how much a level 5 planet costs to setup, but if we assume 8 million, then at the very least, the total investment (6 planets, level 5 Command Centers) in starting isk is roughly 50 million ISK. Unless you have the ISK before starting, you will need to work your way up to that level to achieve maximum gains.
Single character analysis complete, the 3 account analysis will be rather quick:
Level 4 Payouts:
3 null characters: 1179.36 million = 1.17936 billion
3 low characters: 589.68 million
Level 5 Payouts:
3 null characters: 2.6208 billion
3 low characters: 1.3104 billion
It should be noted for those reading this that this ISK is not guaranteed. These are solely the value of the product (enriched uranium) that is being produced. I think in null sec that this will actually mostly, if not entirely, turn into the ISK stated above. For low-sec and null sec, I cannot be sure because I do not understand how much demand there actually is for low-sec and EMPIRE space. However, since you are producing purely enriched uranium, if you spread out your supply, across the trade hubs (Amarr, Rens, Dodixie, Jita, Hek, Oursulaert, etc), you are more likely to make ISK while not crashing the uranium market while at the same time undercutting every other seller at those hubs).
Since as low-sec PI managers, we will be more worried about crashing/flooding the market, and I believe the answer lies in diversifying products. It would most likely be best for the low-sec manager to make some uranium, some coolant, etc etc, to avoid a) crashing/flooding markets and b) flying to more than one trade hub c) severe time involvement, which defeats the point of PI in the first place.