Okay, so my last post on Rotarycraft was a little heavy on the technical stuff, most of which just won’t make any sense to you until you’ve wrestled with the mod and learned some of its lessons the hard way. Perhaps it would be helpful to stop for a moment and really clarify what makes sense as an early game strategy in Rotarycraft. This I will attempt to do with minimal recourse to Newton-meters and radians per second.

First of all, there is no sense in me writing a comprehensive “How to get started in Rotarycraft.” It’s already been done and done well. Furthermore, for explanations of most of the individual elements in Rotarycraft you can find videos or articles, including three wikis (yes, apparently this mod merits three wikis).

Instead, let’s talk about setting priorities. Once again, I’m assuming a game where Rotarycraft is the tech mod of choice (no cheating with the Magnetostatic Engine). So what machines do you need to build in order to open up the game? Two large-scale priorities come to mind: 1) ore-multiplication, and 2) automated mining. Before either of these, though, you have to be able to make HSLA steel.

Making HSLA Steel

Every machine in Rotarycraft requires HSLA steel, which is not the steel of Forge’s ore-dictionary that you make with Railcraft’s blast furnace but a purified steel unique to Rotarycraft. To make HSLA steel, you’ll need a Rotarycraft blast furnace (which is a single block, not a multi-block structure) and a source of heat, probably lava, at first (though there are and superior ways to heat it later on). The lava source block needs to sit directly below the blast furnace. Then you’ll need coal (or charcoal), sand, and gunpowder. These are used up in the process of making steel, but only very slowly (not even close to one per steel ingot). Iron ingots are placed in the blast furnace and transformed into HSLA steel. So priority set #1 is: make a blast furnace, get a bucket of lava, some coal, some sand, some gunpowder, and some iron ingots. {picture: blast furnace}

The blast furnace is the very first thing you need to make in Rotarycraft. It doesn't use fuel to heat up, but requires an external source of heat.

The blast furnace is the very first thing you need to make in Rotarycraft. It doesn’t use fuel to heat up, but requires an external source of heat.

My blast furnace here is heated by a lava source block directly beneath it. To get higher temperatures, you'll need to use one of the two heater machines Rotarycraft provides.

My blast furnace here is heated by a lava source block directly beneath it. This is enough to make steel, but some products require even more heat. To get higher temperatures, you’ll need to use one of the two heater machines Rotarycraft provides.

Ore-multiplication and Lubricant Production

Once you have HSLA steel, you can make machines, and we’re on our way to multiplying ore output. First, make a worktable, which is the crafting table on which all Rotarycraft machines have to be made (but not their constituent parts, which are made on the vanilla crafting table). Now, you can make machines. Priority #2: make a worktable.

Without exception the second thing you need to make is the worktable. Its recipe requires two steel ingots.

Without exception the second thing you need to make is the worktable. Its recipe requires two steel ingots.

Two machines can be used to multiply ore output: the grinder (mentioned two posts ago) and the extractor. The extractor is a little complicated, since it operates in four stages, each of which have different power requirements. What this means is that while you can make one and actually operate it with a gasoline engine and a 16:1 steel gearbox (veeeeery slowly), you won’t be able to just power it and let it run until much later in the game. So let’s focus on the grinder, making it and powering it.

As I mentioned last post, powering the grinder is not simple and straightforward with the three lowest tier engines because of its torque requirement. The fastest way to get to a point where you can power the grinder is with a gasoline engine. But in order to power the gasoline engine, you’re going to need ethanol. So how do you make ethanol?

First you have to make yeast. Fortunately, the same machine that makes the sludge you cook into ethanol crystals also makes yeast, and this machine is the fermenter. To make yeast in the fermenter, you need four things: 1) sugar, 2) dirt, 3) power, 4) the right temperature, and 5) a water supply.

The fermenter can use the presence or absence of a redstone signal to assist in automation. If it receives no redstone signal, it expects to make yeast from sugar and dirt.

The fermenter can use the presence or absence of a redstone signal to assist in automation. If it receives no redstone signal, it expects to make yeast from sugar and dirt.

On the other hand, if the fermenter is receiving a redstone signal, it expects to sludge from yeast and plant matter.

On the other hand, if the fermenter is receiving a redstone signal, it expects to sludge from yeast and plant matter.

Sugar is simply the vanilla item that comes from sugar cane/reeds, so you’ll need to locate some early on. Do I need to explain dirt? As for power, the fermenter only requires a DC electric engine.

Getting the right temperature is not obvious. I highly suggest the mod WAILA (What Am I Looking At) which adds a tooltip telling you the temperature of machines (when relevant). Rotarycraft’s native way of letting you know the fermenter’s temperature is not nearly so easily accessible or precise. To get a fermenter to the appropriate temperature, you’ll probably need to dig down to about y-level 40 (give or take some). Temperatures vary by biome, but also by depth (cooler just inside a cave, but much warmer as you descend toward bedrock).

The water supply needs to come from a Rotarycraft pump, which itself needs to be powered by a DC electric engine. Water is pumped through liquid pipe to the fermenter. Once all of this is in place, put the sugar and the dirt in the fermenter and turn on its DC electric engine to make yeast.

Once you have some yeast, you put it and some plant material (leaves are a good option) back into the fermenter. This will produce sludge. Cook the sludge in a furnace to make ethanol crystals. So priority set #3 is: make a fermenter, a pump, two DC electric engines, and some liquid pipe. Gather sugar, dirt, and plant material. Congratulations: you can make make ethanol.

This is my two-fermenter setup. The upper left one makes yeast while the lower right one makes sludge and deposits it in the chest. I'm in the middle of automating it further.

This is my two-fermenter setup. The upper left one makes yeast while the lower right one makes sludge and deposits it in the chest. I’m in the middle of automating it further.

Here you see the backs of the three DC electric engines I'm using to power the two fermenters and the pump. Why all the wool? Because by surrounding your engines with wool in this way you can dampen the noise these engines make. Believe me, you'll want to do this.

Here you see the backs of the three DC electric engines I’m using to power the two fermenters and the pump. Why all the wool? Because by surrounding your engines with wool in this way you can dampen the noise these engines make. Believe me, you’ll want to do this.

With ethanol in hand, make a gasoline engine and a grinder. Don’t put the ethanol in the engine unless you want it to run. There is no on/off switch other than the presence of fuel. Priority set #4 is: make a gasoline engine and a grinder. Now you can triple your ore output AND make lubricant. Having the ability to use gearboxes (which have to be lubricated) opens up the game tremendously.

Summary of Priorities Thus Far

1) Make a blast furnace

2) Make a workbench

3) Make a fermenter and a pump to produce ethanol

4) Make a gasoline engine and a grinder to triple ore output and produce lubricant

Going Further: Automated Mining

It is at this point that I depart from the above-mentioned forum article. Automated mining is often something you get to later in the game, but Rotarycraft actually puts the capability in your hands pretty early on with the boring machine, and I would suggest that it deserves to be your next large-scale priority. For the boring machine itself, the only thing you’ll need other than steel, gold, and a little redstone is an ender pearl (to make a circuit board). Powering the boring machine is something else, though.

There are any number of ways to power the boring machine, including using an industrial coil. However, now that you access to gearboxes there are other things you can do. I suggest that now is the perfect time to dig into AC electric engines, which, while a little confusing at first, are awesome middle game powerhouses.

AC electric engines produce 512 Nm of torque: four times the torque of a gasoline engine (at half the speed, though, for a total of twice the power). Also, they don’t require fuel, as such. What they do require is a magnetized shaft core and a repeating redstone signal. Alright, so here’s where things get a little complicated, and I think it might be best to save this discussion for another blog post.

Next time: how to use Rotarycraft to make ginormous tunnels.

Next time: how to use Rotarycraft to make ginormous tunnels.

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