- This page was originally created by ShneekeyCraft. Other contributors can be found on the credits page.
What is BuildCraft?
BuildCraft is a very big mod that allows for automation in Minecraft.
The biggest additions of BuildCraft are Pipes and MJ (Minecraft Joules). Pipes can be used to transport items, liquids and even MJ. MJ is used to power BuildCraft and BuildCraft-compatible machines. For example, Thermal Expansion's machinery needs MJ.
What mods will work with BuildCraft?
- It’s more a case of what mods work well with this one. This is one of the ‘founding’ mods, nearly half of the mods in the pack are or at least started out as addon mods for this one.
- Unless it’s IC2, or an addon mod for it, and it isn’t Mystcraft or Factorization, it’s probably a good bet that it’s going to work very well here, since it was probably written to be compatible with it.
- Everything. Pipes get things back and forth, and adding gates (which are compatible with a lot of machines) will prove very useful for bigger networks, with multiple mods.
What should I have before I begin?
- You should have all basic resources after your first mining expedition down to gold/redstone level. Wood, Glass, Cobblestone, Stone, Iron, Gold and Redstone.
- Some pipe upgrades require Cacti or Beeswax.
- To really get your automation kicked into high gear, you’re going to need a good supply of diamonds. Like a couple dozen. But that’s higher-tier, you don’t need it to start with.
This is one of the ‘grandfather’ mods, along with IndustrialCraft 2. This mod invented piping stuff back and forth, and MJ energy production. It brings so much to the table that I’m going to have an even harder time than usual keeping it brief, because there’s just so much to talk about. Right, so let’s get started.
The first items you're going to need will help you craft the very useful Wrench. This tool allows you to make changes to the pipes, machine and engine orientation. You use the wrench by putting it in your hand and right clicking on a BuildCraft object. More on this later.
First you will need to create a Wooden Gear.
Convert it into a Stone Gear.
You can then craft the wrench.
This is one of those things that started off as a small thing, and later on took on a whole new life. Basically, pipes are used to transport stuff, be it items, liquids, or even MJ all over the place, without you needing to do it.
I’d say "that's all", but that’s a fundamental game changing concept right there. Unless you are using RedPower 2's Pneumatic Tubes, odds are you are going to be using these things a lot. Not to discredit RP2's Tubes, but BuildCraft's Pipes are just better for things other than very basic automation.
So let’s start talking about pipes. The default recipe for Transport Pipes is two of some kind of material on either side of a piece of glass, and it typically produces eight of that pipe. But the material it is made of, determines its function;
Typically you will need to make Transport Pipes and upgrade them to the water proof Fluid Pipes, using Pipe Sealant, or the conductive Kinesis Pipes, using Redstone.
|Wooden Pipes are used to suck items out of inventories (or tanks, engines..). They don't connect to each other, and they will need a Redstone Engine or better, or an Autarchic Gate to function. Wooden Pipes come in a Standard, a Waterproof and a Conductive version. Wooden conductive pipes are what engines need to connect to in order to send power elsewhere.|
|Cobblestone Pipes are your most basic transport pipes. They do not connect to Stone Pipes, and they are a very cheap means of getting items (only items, not liquids or power) around. Stuff sent through cobblestone pipes will slow down, and will eventually stop flowing.|
|Stone Pipes are a little bit better than Cobblestone, and won’t connect with them. They can be made into Waterproof or Conductive pipe, but they won’t be as good as Gold versions. They will also experience drag and eventually slow things down if they go a distance in them, but it won’t be as bad as with Cobblestone Pipes.|
|Sandstone Pipes won’t connect to machines. This makes them very useful for running a pipe directly behind or underneath a machine that you do not want to connect to your pipe network.|
|Iron Pipes are the start of your logic system. They are one-way pipes - items can come in in any direction, but they can only leave in one direction. Whack it with a wrench to change which facing is the output. Very useful when you have multiple machines all outputting to the same place, or when you have a ‘serial’ setup.|
|Golden Pipes will accelerate things that go through it. Space them out to keep your stuff flowing faster. Golden Fluid Pipes can hold more mB of liquid than other pipes. Golden Conductive Pipes have the least amount of energy loss per square.|
|Diamond Pipes are the most advanced of all above ones. Right-clicking it will open a complicated interface, which can prove very useful in sorting lots of stuff in your network. Basically, you put something in your diamond pipe on a color line, and all of that kind of item goes through that direction. Colors are assigned by cardinal direction, and are not affected by facing or player interaction.|
|Quartz Pipes have a low drag so items won't slow down as much as in other pipes. Quartz Pipe won't connect to Cobblestone or Stone Pipes.|
|Emzuli Pipes are advance extraction pipes which need to be used in conjunction with logic gates to function. Only four items can be chosen in accordance with the four wire colours. Additionally this pipe can paint items for routing later.|
|Lazuli Pipes paint items as they pass through with a chosen colour. This colour can then be used to help with routing.|
|Daizuli Pipes will route all items of a given colour to a chosen location.|
Other mods may have additional pipes they bring to the table, but those are the ‘core’ BC pipes.
- Wooden pipes need a Redstone Engine for them to pipe things through. That Redstone Engine needs a Redstone Signal to get going. Generally, there’s never a good reason to turn off the Redstone Engine as long as the Wooden Pipe is there.
- Golden Pipes do not need a redstone signal to get things sped up, that was a function of a previous version which has since been fixed.
- Transport Pipes, other than Diamond and Iron, are pretty stupid when it comes to intersections, and will choose a direction randomly. Iron Pipes, as we mentioned, will only output to the side they are configured to, and Diamond Pipes will sort things intelligently by item. For this reason, intersections can become a problem in your system. When a pipe intersects and an option is to go into a machine, then it will randomly decide to go into the machine or keep going, which is why Sandstone Pipes exist. There are also some mods that bring pipes that have additional functionality at intersections, but those are going to be covered in their respective mod guides.
Piping a Furnace (Special Case)
A Furnace is a special type of inventory we have to take special consideration over when we want to pipe things into and out of it.
Now as we all know a Furnace has 3 slots. The top slot for the items we are going to smelt/cook, the bottom slot for fuel and the completed slot. This means the Furnace has 3 places we can attach pipes to and if we don't attach our pipes correctly we will get unintended results.
To pipe items to be smelted/cooked into our Furnace we have to attach the pipe to the top of the Furnace, fuel we attach to the side and to pipe the smelted/cooked items out we have to attach to the bottom.
Remember, piping out will require the Wooden Transport Pipe or the Emzuli Transport Pipe and an Engine with a redstone signal.
Buildcraft invented the MJ (Minecraft Joules), so it is no surprise they have ways of producing it. Currently, there are three types of Engines (in BuildCraft);
|0.01MJ/t~0.05MJ/t||Redstone Engines produce the least amount of power. It is only good for powering pumps and wooden pipes. No, enough of them will not add up to a useful amount of power, it will just lag out your system trying.|
|1 MJ/t||Stirling Engines produce 1 MJ/t, and run on the stuff that you can use in furnaces too - Coal, Wood, Lava Buckets... It's a reliable engine, and probably what you are going to start off with.|
|1MJ/t~6MJ/t||Combustion Engines produce a varying amount of MJ depending on the fuel they are supplied. They can also explode if they aren’t supplied with water. Combustion Engines have the highest theoretical MJ/t output of any engine other than Railcraft's Steam Engines, with 6 MJ/t when running on Fuel.|
Creating engines isn’t too hard, the same basic design works for all of them. They need a piston, glass, a couple of Gears, and… wait, Gears?
Yeah, Gears are new here. Four Sticks will create a Wooden Gear. Then you can put the Wooden Gear in the middle of 4 Cobblestone to make a Stone Gear. Same thing up the line to Iron, Gold, and even Diamond Gears. For now, Redstone Engines require Wood, Stirling requires Stone, and Combustion requires Iron;
So, you now have power. Ehr, how do you transport it? You guessed it - Conductive Pipes. To transport MJ from Engines, you need a Wooden Conductive Pipe. After that, you need Conductive Pipes or Stone Conductive Pipes to transmit power through your network - Wooden Conductive Pipes do not connect to machines.
Alternatively, you can place the engine right next to a machine, but this is far from optimal.
Thermal Expansion adds a better way to transport MJ - the Redstone Energy Conduit. You can read about it on the item's article.
Now that you have a power network, what to do with it?
First off, we’re going to look at an upgrade for the vanilla Crafting Table. Four Wooden Gears around a Crafting Table makes for an Autocrafting Table;
This really handy little device can be used to automatically craft things. It also never spits things out, so you can leave items in your Crafting Table, go back for that one item you forgot, and come back to it. You can also ‘set’ a recipe in an automated crafting table, then pipe in materials, and it will spit the resulting product out. It can even feed from an adjacent Chest, in case the recipe calls for things which cannot be stacked.
Next, we’re going to be looking at a Pump. There’s two pumps in FTB at the moment, the one you are looking for is crafted with a Mining Well and a Tank. The other one is IC2 related. Looking up the sub-combines shows that you’ll need a good bit of iron for this recipe.
A Tank can be used to store liquids in, and is fairly easy to craft. You can pump liquids in with Fluid Pipes, and you can pump them out with a Wooden Fluid Pipe and a Redstone Engine.
The Pump is crafted like so.
The Pump looks directly underneath for a liquid source, then it will suck the liquid source up and automatically spit it out into an attached Fluid Pipe. This machine is an exception to the rule, you do not need a Wooden Pipe to pump it out, it will automatically do it for you. However, you need to use four Redstone Engines directly attached to the Pump to keep it pumping at optimal efficiency.
You can also put a Tank next to the pump, but due to the Tank's tiny capacity (8,000 mB), this is not recommended.
- pump water from an infinite spring to keep your combustion engines cooled (although Thermal Expansion has a better way of doing that with the Aqueous Accumulator)
- pump oil out of the ground to send to a refinery to be turned into fuel for your combustion engines
- pump lava out of a pool for various uses.
So in general, a Pump is a pretty good machine to have around, particularly if you are wanting to get Combustion Engines running.
A Mining Well mines blocks directly beneath it. Use Engines to supply power, and place a chest next to it to store the mined goods.
Next, let’s look at a Refinery.
Refineries turn Oil into Fuel, but they require a good amount of power to do so, so make sure to hook it up to your energy network. You might need to use a Stirling engine to get it going, but after you’ve got a bucket of Fuel, switch it over to a Combustion Engine, because it’s just going to go a lot faster with one.
Now, let’s look at the recipe.
Yes, you’re seeing it right, a Diamond gear. That’s four Sticks, four Cobblestone, four Iron, four Gold, and four Diamonds. And three Tanks, which is just some Glass. But, it is worth it.
In a Combustion Engine, Oil produces 2 MJ/t, whereas Fuel produces 6 MJ/t. That is tripling your energy production!
The next machine we’re going to be looking at is also expensive. In fact, probably the single most expensive individual machine in this mod. It’s also one of the most useful. It’s called a Quarry.
Okay, don’t freak out now, I told you this was going to be expensive. Two Diamond Gears, an undamaged Diamond Pick, two Gold Gears, three Iron Gears, and a piece of Redstone. That’s going to come out to 11 Diamonds, 16 Gold, Half a stack of Iron, and some other stuff.
But is it worth it? Oh yes, very much so.
Quarries will automatically mine from whatever level you put it at, all the way down to Bedrock. It also requires a lot of power, like 9 MJ/t at maximum speed. But you won’t ever need to go mining again.
Oh, here’s another cute trick: Put a piece of Lapis on top of a Redstone Torch in your crafting square. See that landmark? Make three of them. Drop one down where you want your quarry to start digging. Now put one on the x plane and one on the z plane to denote the rectangle it is going to dig in. Now drop your quarry directly adjacent to the corner landmark. Now you can dig up to 64 x 64 holes in one shot.
A Quarry will automatically output what it digs into an adjacent chest or pipe, no wooden pipes necessary. I would suggest having some kind of sorting system set up to handle the input, because you’ll be getting a lot of it.
Some people also prefer to dig down to around y-level 40 or so to place their quarry so they don’t completely wreck the landscape and to minimize the amount of Cobblestone and Dirt they get, although this will create large cavernous areas where mobs are very likely to spawn.
Advanced Pipe Logic
Now comes probably the most expensive piece of infrastructure you’ll ever have to make in this mod, yes even more expensive than that Quarry. Don’t give me that look, it’ll be worth it. Trust me. We’re going to need a lot of diamonds. Like over a dozen of them. We’re also going to need quite a bit of Gold, Iron, Obsidian, and Redstone. We’re also going to want a lot of MJ production. Like probably at least 16-20 MJ/t just devoted to this one system. It’s time to build your Assembly Table.
So yea, that’s a diamond gear, and another diamond. So wait, that’s only five diamonds, what’s up with this ‘over a dozen of them’ stuff? Well, unfortunately the Assembly Table doesn’t run off of regular MJ. All of the activity on the Assembly Table is done with Lasers, which needs to be within three blocks, and they need to have an unobstructed view to the table.
Lasers cost two Diamonds. Each. And if you want them produced at any speed, you’ll want at least four of them. Oh, and you know how the assembly table doesn’t run off of MJ? Lasers do. Each one needs 4 MJ/t to run at optimal efficiency. So be sure you have enough energy production before starting this project.
Boohooohooooo! That's your resource chest crying, can you hear it?
Gates are great. They bring logic and automation to your piping. Let’s say you want to conserve Fuel, and only want your Combustion Engines running when something actually wants power. Well, for this, you’ll need to make some Iron Gates and some Red Pipe Wire.
One redstone and one iron ingot makes an Redstone Iron Chipset. One Iron Chipset and one Red Pipe Wire makes one Iron AND Gate or an Iron OR Gate. Red Pipe Wire is simply some redstone, iron and Rose Red (throw a rose into your crafting square to get a couple). For this particular setup, either one will work since we are only using one conditional, but for those who are logically minded, you’ll recognize how fun having an AND or OR gate can be.
Now then, gates go on pipes. That’s the only place they go. For this experiment, we’ll be putting an Iron Gate on the Conductive Pipe directly attached to a machine which draws power. Run Red Pipe Wiring along the Conductive Pipe to your Combustion Engines. Run some Redstone behind or underneath them, wherever you can fit it. The gate at the machine should say “Has Work → Red Pipe Signal”, the one near the Combustion Engines should be “Red Pipe Signal → Redstone Signal”. Now when the machine has work (has something to do) your Combustion Engines turn on. You can hook up an Iron Gate to each machine in your network if you like. That way, you won’t be wasting fuel if your factory is idle.
Here’s a cute trick: Combine a Gravel with a Cobblestone pipe. You get a Cobblestone Structure Pipe. This doesn’t pipe anything, but it can be used to run Red Pipe Wire along, and you can put gates on it. So you can run some structure pipes along your engines and put in gates set to trigger redstone signal when it gets a Red Pipe signal, if necessary. They can also be used to run a red pipe signal across pipes that won’t connect (stone/cobblestone, or regular pipes and liquid pipes and conductive pipes).
That’s only one simple thing. To go into it in full detail would be a guide all its own. The only other gate I’ll mention right now needs an Ender Pearl. It’s called a Pulsating Chipset. It’s used to make an Autarchic Gate. These things are basically a Redstone Engine built into the gate, so you can put them on a Wooden Pipe and not have to worry about where to put the Redstone Engine or worry about the signal either. And yes, autarchic gates can be triggered with red pipe wire, if you want. You can also tell it to pulse when there is a lack of redstone signal, if you just want it pumping constantly.
That’s it for now. Later on, there will be guides detailing some of the things we’ve touched on, but in greater detail But that should get you started, at least.