I've been playing on and off since the Kickstarter Beta, and I haven't seen very many of the advanced ships I'm sure other players are building. So here are a few of mine (coolest one at the end).
The basic ship goes forward and spins. You add a few simple things like shields, ore, magnets, and a few weapons. Maybe some logic to toggle those things on and off. I assume most people end up building some ships like this when they first start playing.
Next I built more complex ships, but they were basically the same design. More engines, more weapons, but still a single large structure that rotates, shoots, and carries stuff.
When I first started building a few releases back, I moved from there on to even larger ships with more weapons and energy. I made some small buddy drones that worked poorly. But the problem I had was that increased firepower and speed results in heavy and hard to maneuver monsters. I couldn't dig through planets quickly because I was so massive and required such a wide path.
The big change for me happened when I began building snake ships. These are segmented and carry energy and engines on every section. I use fixed-direction digging lasers, so on most planets I can blast through terrain at full speed. It steers quickly as well. And I can unload a huge amount of damage, thanks to weapons on every body segment. I use this ship for every mission except bio barrels and harvesting.
Are there some other designs for agile bots with high damage capabilities? I'd love to see more of what other people dream up (besides their devastating sumo bots).