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Mining and Ore Generators in Minecraft

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Ores are the building blocks of Minecraft. In this excerpt from The Advanced Strategy Guide to Minecraft, Stephen O'Brien shows you how to mine cobblestone, create stone, and generate obsidian.
This chapter is from the book

In This Chapter

  • Create an endless expanse of self-healing cobblestone.
  • Generate all the stone you need for massive constructions.
  • Save on diamonds and create a portal on the spot without mining obsidian.

Ores are the building blocks of Minecraft. You can use them to create creeper-proof buildings, dwellings, and rail bridges across the sky. Actually, unless you plan to live in a mud hut, you really can’t beat cold, hard stone. But why grub about in dark tunnels when you can create all the building ore you could ever possibly need, and then top it off with an overdose of some of the toughest stuff in Minecraft—obsidian—and do so without putting so much as a scratch on your new diamond pickaxe. It’s all surprisingly easy.

Creating Cobblestone

Cobblestone is one of the most prevalent and useful blocks in Minecraft. As a building material it provides the same blast resistance as any other, with the exception of obsidian, which is about 200 times tougher, and the essentially indestructible bedrock. Even a wall of diamond blocks won’t provide any greater protection than cobblestone against a creeper waiting outside your door.

The venerable cobbled stone is also exceptionally versatile. Cobblestone is used in the crafting of furnaces, dispensers, droppers, levers, and pistons, among other things. It can also be turned into stairs, slabs, moss stone (for that Temple of Doom appeal), and the usual tools.

Although cobblestone is found just about everywhere underground, it’s also one of the easiest ores to automatically produce. I’ll show you how to create an endless supply, and also how to turn it into an endlessly healing platform. Doing so requires a few pistons and a simple redstone clock circuit.

Cobblestone is formed when flowing water meets flowing lava at the same level, as shown in Figure 3.1. (Flowing water meeting a lava source block produces obsidian, and flowing water dropping on top of flowing lava creates stone.)

Figure 3.1

Figure 3.1 Cobblestone forms at the junction point of flowing water and flowing lava.

Creating a supply of cobblestone therefore requires just a bucket each of lava and water.

There are many ways to arrange such a junction, but the simplest is shown in Figure 3.2. You could sink this arrangement one block further into the ground and avoid having to place the bordering blocks, but we’re going to use this layout because it lifts the cobblestone above ground level where it can be pushed with pistons.

Figure 3.2

Figure 3.2 Cobbling together some cobblestone.

Spill a bucket of water on the far left. It will flow down over the lip into the two-block-deep hole and, due to the mechanics of the water flow model, will actually, and rather conveniently, stop right there.

Then spill a bucket of lava on the far right, forming the cobblestone that was shown in Figure 3.1.

Try mining the cobblestone, and you’ll see it pop out and another block form within moments. Infinite cobblestone. Pretty easy, right?

Let’s ramp this up a bit.

Place a standard piston so that it’s facing the cobblestone. (You may need to scoop the lava into a bucket and then remove the formed cobblestone before placing the piston because it can be quite tricky to obtain the right angle for the piston with the cobblestone block in front.) Figure 3.3 shows the intended layout.

Figure 3.3

Figure 3.3 Pistons provide an easy way to push out a string up of up to 12 cobblestone blocks.

It’s possible to build a BUD switch, as described in Chapter 2, “Automated Produce Farms,” to detect the creation of the cobblestone block and then activate the piston to push it out. However, an easier way is available that introduces a new type of circuit we haven’t looked at before: the repeater clock.

Clocks constantly repeat a redstone pulse. There are many ways to achieve this, including with the use of pistons, items moving between hoppers, and by just using a string of torch inverters. However, the easiest method for fine-tuning the interval between pulses is with a string of redstone repeaters arranged in a loop. In its default configuration, each repeater adds a 0.1 second delay to the circuit, with the slider on top of each repeater allowing this to be lengthened to as much as 0.4 seconds.

Figure 3.4 shows the circuit we’ll use here. The pulse originates with the button attached to the plank block. A trail of redstone leads directly to the base of the piston, but also splits off into the repeater loop. As it travels through each repeater, it is ever so slightly delayed, eventually traveling around the entire loop in a clockwise direction, back through the plank block and toward the piston once more, and also restarting its endless circuit of the loop.

Figure 3.4

Figure 3.4 Clocking on and off with a repeater loop.

Create the circuit by laying the repeaters, ensuring they all run clockwise. Run the redstone to the piston and also to connect the repeaters; then press the button.

Now take a look at the piston. You’ll see it start to push out the cobblestone, but there’s a slight problem. The piston flies back and forth so fast that it spends most of its time blocking the flow of lava, preventing the cobblestone from forming. There’s an easy way to fix this. Start right-clicking the repeaters, shifting their sliders back to the last available position. As you do so, the pulses will slow down. Keep going until you have the piston synchronized with the cobblestone production. I’ve found this requires setting six of the repeaters to their slowest position.

This is all well and good. You should see a row of cobblestone form, as shown in Figure 3.5, spanning out 12 blocks—the maximum a piston can push at any time. Try digging out any of those blocks, and the piston will quickly “heal” the gap with a new block of cobblestone. This is quite commonly used to create self-healing bridges, but why stop there? Let’s create an entire self-healing platform—perfect for that game of Spleef (see the note “Playing Spleef”) or just developing an expanse of easily minable cobblestone.

Figure 3.5

Figure 3.5 Periodic pistons provide an easy way to push up to 12 cobblestone blocks out of the generator.

Start by laying down a line of pistons and blocks behind, as shown in Figure 3.6. Connect them up to the timing loop with some redstone. You’ll also need to place one more repeater before the pistons to boost the current so they all fire off. Otherwise, the redstone trail will be a little long and will lose its punch before it reaches the end of the pistons. Other than that, that’s all there is to it. If you need the platform created in a more specific shape, use other blocks that pistons can’t shift to form the outline. This includes growing trees, other extended pistons, and most block-sized items such as dispensers, hoppers, furnaces, and the like.

Figure 3.6

Figure 3.6 Creating a full self-generating platform—perfect for that game of Spleef.

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