Simple crafting isn't enough to survive on the Ark for long. You'll need to learn more advanced and efficient means of crafting including bulk crafting. It will also be necessary to make a lot of repairs to both items and structures. Not only will you save time by learning these techniques, but you'll also increase your odds of survival.
The basic crafting in Ark can be done in your inventory. You can also queue up items to be crafted, and often the final products are much lighter than the resources required to make them.
No matter how hard you try to prevent it, things will get damaged. Especially your tools and gear. As for structures, even in PvE it's easy enough for them to get damaged. The question becomes how do you repair these items and structures?
The Mortar & Pestle can be used to make various items that are either usable directly or are used in crafting more complex items. You can even bulk craft with the Mortar & Pestle.
The Refining Forge is probably one of the most used crafting stations in Ark. You'll be processing a ton of stuff with this, and its best to learn how to use it for bulk crafting as well.
The Smithy is another heavily used crafting station in Ark. It is where a good number of more advanced items are made. It is also handy as a repair station and has a large capactiy for materials. Bulk crafting with it can also save a lot of time.
On the Ark the Fabricator is one of the more advanced crafting stations and is used to craft advanced items and structures. It does require fuel to use, and is not always the most efficient for bulk crafting.
Bulk crafting will eventually become necessary for most players. And luckily it is something that can be done fairly easily and setup rather quickly.
The Chemistry Bench crafts the same items as the Mortar & Pestle as well as some additional advanced items. It is also far more efficient both in resources and time while its large inventory lets you produce large quantities of items. This is an expensive high-tier crafting station, but is definitely worth it. You'll get more from your resources and it will be faster than the Mortar & Pestle.
The Industrial Forge is the fastest way to refine large quantities of Metal. Of course it also produces Gasoline and Charcoal. It has a huge inventory and is a mamoth structure in itself that is at least 5 foundations wide and at least 6 wall segments high. While very expensive it is definitely the best way to handle large loads.