Like many people, I hate to waste coal on torches or powering a vanilla furnace when I can use renewable charcoal instead. But because I have to make charcoal (rather than just mine it incidentally as I’m looking for iron, gold, and diamonds), I never have charcoal when I need it. The obvious solution is an automatic charcoal factory. Using hoppers and droppers it’s easy enough to set up a furnace that cooks logs and feeds itself charcoal. But providing a steady and automatic supply of logs is something not easily done using strictly vanilla resources. Fortunately, many mods, Rotarycraft included, provide a machine for just that purpose. Today’s project is a charcoal factory that uses Rotarycraft’s Woodcutter to harvest and replant trees, vanilla Minecraft resources to apply bonemeal to the sapling, process the logs, and sort by-products, and JABBA to store those by-products.

An overview of my Rotarycraft-powered charcoal factory with roof and walls unfinished. It ended up being bigger than I had originally envisioned, primarily because I needed to deal with the Woodcutter’s by-products. This factory is fully automatic with a manual shut-off. The only thing that needs to be resupplied from time to time is bonemeal (and it isn’t absolutely necessary).

A few posts ago I covered Rotarycraft’s Woodcutter and demonstrated a way to power it constantly using four Wind Turbines and a 4:1 gearbox. This is the setup I have used in my charcoal factory. As I showed before, I have used a clutch to make it possible to shut off the Woodcutter, either manually or using some condition (like a chest full of charcoal, for example).

A Woodcutter powered by four Wind Turbines and a 4:1 gearbox. Note that I have misplaced my clutch. It is better the place the clutch before the gearbox (if using steel), so that the gearbox doesn’t use lubricant while the Woodcutter is turned off. Here it doesn’t matter, since I have used a bedrock gearbox (I’m at the stage in my survival game that bedrock gearboxes are pretty easy to come by). The oak planks block transmits a redstone signal to the clutch (turning it on) and to a comparator clock that causes a dispenser to apply bonemeal to freshly planted saplings.

The Woodcutter deposits its output downward into a hopper which leads down again into a dropper – the first in a horizontal chain. This image shows the comparator clock that reads the presence of something in the first dropper and sends redstone pulses down the dropper chain.

The rest of the dropper chain. I have used the first dropper chain model from my last post.

Hopper filters are used to sort out the by-products: saw dust, apples, and saplings. I have used JABBA barrels with the MK II upgrade and the void upgrade (that destroys items that exceed the barrel capacity).

A look at the three hopper filters behind the three barrels.

All that’s left after the hopper filters have done their work are logs, and these get sent through a hopper chain into the top of a furnace. The furnace cooks the logs down into charcoal. This charcoal is pulled out by the hopper beneath the furnace and sent into a nearby system of hoppers and droppers. The furnace needs one piece of charcoal or coal to get started. After that, it will supply its own fuel.

Charcoal produced by the furnace go first into a vertical dropper chain, then into a set of hoppers that lead to a chest. One more hopper that is pointed at the side of the furnace is placed below the first in this series of hoppers. This hopper will have top priority, pulling out charcoal that is trying to go through the hopper chain and providing fuel to the furnace. Over time, this will fill up, and charcoal will start to go into the charcoal chest.

This is the charcoal chest. When full, it will emit a redstone signal through a comparator that will shut off the Woodcutter.

When the comparator is in “compare” mode” you can send a redstone signal of strength 14 into its side like this and make it so that it will only emit a redstone signal when the inventory behind it is full. It isn’t strictly necessary here, but I thought I’d show off this feature.

The redstone signal produced by the full chest leads back to the beginning of the system, turning off the redstone torch that supplies the “on” signal for the Woodcutter (through the clutch) and for the bonemeal dispenser.

There was one problem with this factory, and that was that it was producing logs faster than it was cooking them down into charcoal. To take care of this, I replaced the hopper directly above the furnace with a JABBA barrel upgraded to at least MK 1 and given the hopper upgrade (remember to use the hopper facade item on the side of the barrel you want it to output to). You can see in the background the finished roof and walls, using iron bars for windows.

With not too much work, this same design could be used with other mods’ tree harvesting systems.