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Robot Shovelman


The Robot Shovelman is a Robot added by BuildCraft. It is able to wield Shovels to remove blocks that can harvested by shovels (e.g., Dirt, Sand and Gravel), which can subsequently be collected by the Robot Picker and stored in a chest (see Usage). For harder materials like Stone or Sandstone the Robot Miner is required.



Fig. 1: Example sand hill for collecting sand.

The robot automatically removes Dirt and Sand. It can be used to remove hills and/or gather Dirt and Sand.

The following described setup will guide readers in setting up a Robot Shovelman, using the example sand hill shown in Fig. 1.

The following items are needed for the setup:

Step 1: Define Work Zone

Fig. 2: 2-dimensional ground zone defined with three Land Marks

Fig. 3: 3-dimensional zone defined with four Land Marks

The player must demarcate the area in which the Robot should remove the sand—this is achieved with Land Marks. If the player does not define a working area and configure it in Step 3, the Robot will fly to every active chunk around the player and remove every sand and dirt block as well as sand which are incorporated into buildings.

Place three Land Marks in a 90° angle which defines the base of the sand hill. Right-click on one of the marks to display red borders (shown in Fig. 2) which shows the ground area of the work zone.

The two marks on the left and right in the figure may not be more than 64 blocks away from the center mark.

Build a structure (e.g., a dirt tower) over the mark in the center up to the maximum height of the work zone and place the fourth Land Mark. Right-clicking on any Land Mark will show a red border framing a 3-dimensional work zone (shown in Fig. 3). If no red border appears, then the Land Marks are not in a 90° angle to each other.

To remove the entire sand hill, the Robot Shovelman needs a 3-dimensional zone which includes all sand blocks. If the player uses the 2-dimensional zone (i.e., not using the fourth Land Mark to denote height), the robot only removes the sand blocks on the ground. Sand blocks outside the work zone are not touched.

Step 2: Control Station

Fig. 4: Control station

A control station for the Robot must be built. It can be placed anywhere but it is recommend to place it nearby for easier access. The following described control station is a the simplest and can be extended.

The station includes a Chest with a connected Wooden Transport Pipe, a Docking Station, and a Emerald AND Gate which can be placed anywhere on the Pipe (without disconnecting the chest).

Place the Lever in front of the Emerald Gate and the Shovels in the Chest. The Station should look like the example in Fig. 4.

Step 3: Configuration

Fig. 5: Programmed Emerald AND Gate

Fig. 6: Receive coordinates from a Land Mark by right-clicking with a Map Location

The third step is the configuration of the Emerald Gate to control the robot. Also here, this example isn't the only system that works and can be extended.

Right-click the Emerald Gate to open its GUI, which shows two 4x4 slotted fields (one left, one right). In the first and third row on the right side is are
signifying that an item is required in that slot.

The important configurations to control the robot, shown in Fig. 5, are explained in the following:

Left slot Right slot
Row Icon Explanation do following Icon Icon Explanation
If a redstone signal is provided to the gate >>>

Work in the work zone => work zone undefined

Work in the work zone => coordinates of the zone
If a redstone signal is provided to the gate >>>
Provide Items => item not defined

Provide Items => Diamond Shovel
If no redstone signal is provided to the gate >>>

Go to station => station undefined

Go to station => coordinates of the station

A full explanation of all possible functions can be found in Emerald Gate article.

The sequence of rows does not matter.

Slots requiring coordinates are added by the Map Location.

  1. Take the Map Location and right-click on one of the Land Marks to receive the coordinates of the working zone (shown in Fig. 6). The Map Location should now have a rectangle on it. Place the Map Location in the Emerald Gate's GUI in the
    slot in the first row ("Working area" statement). The coordinates will be stored and the Map Location can be reused for the second coordinates.
  2. Take the Map Location and right-click on the Docking Station to receive the coordinates. Note: It is important that the side is indicated at the coordinates for the Docking Station. This is displayed in the player inventory if the cursor is hovered over the Map Location. Check if the specified side is the same as where the docking station is, for example "UP" if the Docking Station is on the upside of the pipe. Place the Map Location in the Emerald Gate's GUI in the
    slot in the third row ("Go to station" statement).
  3. Put a Shovel in one of the empty slots in the second row ("Harvest with X" statement) on the right side.

Now the configuration should appear like in Fig. 5 and the control station is fully configured. The Land Marks and the respective frame are no longer needed for this area and can be removed. If the player wants to reuse the frame for other robots (for example the Robot Picker, make sure the coordinates stored in a Map Location.

Step 4: Start and Stop

Fig. 7: Finished control station with robot.

Place the Robot Shovelman on top of the Docking Station (shown in Fig. 7). It will initially do nothing because the logic statement in the third row instructs the robot to stay docked in the absence of a redstone signal.

If the Lever in front of the gate is switched on and a redstone signal is provided to the gate, the first and the second logic statements will become active.

After a short time (the update time of the Robot), the Robot will take a Shovel out of the chest (second logic statement in the Emerald Gate) and will start working in the defined zone (first logic statement in the Emerald Gate) (shown in Fig. 8) until there are no blocks in the zone that can be mined with a Shovel.

The Robot will automatically return to the Docking Station when the Shovel it is using breaks. It will take another Shovel (if any) out of the Chest and continue working.

When all removable blocks are removed in the work zone, the Robot will automatically return to the Docking Station but remain active It will start to work again when a new block that can be mined with a shovel appears in the work zone. The work of the robot can be stopped anytime by switching the lever (in front of the gate) off, which will automatically cause the robot to return to the Docking Station.


If the robot is low on energy, it will begin to seek out a kinesis pipe with a docking station to charge itself. If none are available, it will continue doing its job until its battery dies. The player can also stop the robot with attacks to prematurely drain its battery, causing the to robot drop as item on the ground. Stronger attacks will drain its battery faster. The player can pick up the robot and place in the Charging Table to recharge it. After that, the robot can be placed again on the Docking Station and is again ready to work.


  • After configuring the Robot the frame created with the Land Marks isn't needed anymore. The coordinates of the working area are saved in the emerald gate.
  • If a work zone is not demarcated, then the Robot removes all sand, dirt and gravel in active chunks.
  • The Shovelman will not pick up the dropped items. The player must collect the items themselves or use a Robot Picker.