In my last post about my Factorization Building of Ore-Processing Awesomeness, I noted that I used Thermal Expansion Fluid Transposers to refill the water buckets that the Factorization Mixers need to do their mixing business. I did this for two reasons: 1) to save space and 2) because I’m not really a Vanilla MC Redstone stud. But something (conscience? curiosity? manic obsession with all things Minecraft?) wouldn’t let it slide. So I spent some time in my 1.6.4 modded test world and worked out a system that, if I do say so myself, is pretty sweet … if bulky.
I had seen YouTube videos about making a sorting system in Vanilla Minecraft using hoppers and Redstone comparators. There are lots of videos on this topic, though I commend Kinetic114 for a clear and well-paced explanation of the system. Some things were tweaked about comparators in the 1.6 update, but you can figure it out. While using these systems in Vanilla Minecraft as an actual sorting system is both very bulky and VERY expensive, in small implementations a hopper/comparator system can work really well to filter items in a line that is only going to see three or four kinds of items. That’s what I did here.
The first step is to set up a chain of hoppers to remove empty water buckets, sludge, and clean gravel from the mixer and send them to some destination, for the time being, a chest. A hopper with an empty bucket in each of its five slots sits below one of the first hoppers. A Redstone comparator sits next to this empty-bucket hopper. Filled this way, the hopper causes the comparator to emit a one-block strong signal. When one more bucket falls into the hopper from the hopper chain above it, the signal grows to two blocks strong, which powers a Redstone repeater and depowers a Redstone torch that sits beneath yet another hopper below the empty-bucket hopper. When the Redstone torch is depowered, this last hopper is able to receive and send items.
It has time to send one bucket before the Redstone torch is allowed to turn back on. This bucket goes through another hopper into a dispenser that faces an unlimited water source. When the dispenser receives this empty bucket, a comparator next to it emits a Redstone signal that turns back and powers the dispenser, causing it to fill the water bucket from the water source.
At the same time, this comparator signal powers another line, delayed by one tick on a repeater, that depowers another Redstone torch two blocks below the dispenser. This Redstone torch, by default powered, sits beneath the hopper that pulls full water buckets from the dispenser. I also had each slot filled with water buckets just to make sure that an empty one didn’t sneak through, but the one-tick delay should take care of this, I think.
This last chain of hoppers leads to a dropper item elevator. Once again, a comparator and a series of Redstone dust, Redstone repeaters, and Redstone torches reads that an item has entered the first dropper and creates a chain reaction that sends the item up the column and into a final hopper that feeds the filled water bucket back into the mixer and starts the whole process over again.
The whole system has an 8×7 footprint and is six blocks tall, quite a bit bigger than the Thermal Expansion Fluid Transposer system. I expect a Redstone guru could probably find a way to shrink it a little, but even so, with one of these systems per mixer, the space required would be significant. Another disadvantage of this system is, actually its expense. The nine hoppers (at least) and 12 buckets this system requires to work take 81 iron ingots, versus the less than 20 ingots taken by the Thermal Expansion system (other metal requirements are negligible). However, this system requires no power of any sort, and it works a tad faster than the Thermal Expansion setup.
Though this setup would be bulky and expensive, I feel satisfied in the knowledge that, at least as far as the mixer is concerned, Factorization ore-processing can be automated without Thermal Expansion.