Buildcraft is one of the easier automation mods to work with, at least for the more basic functions (such as automated quarries). However, unlike both Industrial Craft and RedPower, Buildcraft does not have any low tier energy storage units.

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Machines form the base of Buildcraft's automation. All the machines below require Buildcraft power to function, also refered to as 'MJ'. This power can be supplied by Buildcraft Engines (the next section down) or by another tech mod (provided the power is routed through the Energy Bridge).

  • Automatic Crafting Table: This upgraded version of the crafting table can function like a normal crafting table, or, can be supplied with resources and a recipe and will auto-craft items for you.
  • Mining Well: This miner digs a hole straight down, stopping when it reaches bedrock or lava.
  • Pump: Just like it sounds, this machine pumps liquids it encounters into attached waterproof pipes.
  • Quarry: An expensive but extremely useful machine, it will completely mine out a selected area down to bedrock or lava, whichever is encountered first.
  • Refinery: Converts oil into its more efficient form, fuel. 
  • Tank: Not actually a machine. This stackable block is capable of storing most liquids in the Big Dig pack.


Engines are the core of Buildcraft. They generate power in MJ, which can power the machines above. There are three main types of engine natively in Buildcraft, but other mods add a few more. The three basic types are these:

  • Redstone EngineThis engine is the lowest tier of engine. It is powered only by a redstone current but produces only a small amount of power. These are often found powering pipes and small machines as they never overheat and gain efficiency the longer they are active.
  • Stirling Engine: This engine generates much more power than a Redstone Engine, but requires coal or some other generic fuel to work. It can be fed fuel by a Hopper (not the vanilla one, but one added by Buildcraft) or by pipes. Stirling Engines are more dangerous than Redstone Engines, since they are liable to explode if left running for very long periods of time.
  • Combustion Engine: The Combustion Engine is an incredibly powerful and dangerous engine that requires fairly large reserves of liquid fuel (Oil, Fuel, or Lava) and water to be kept running safely. It is theoretically possible to run a Combustion Engine without water at all, but this is not recommended as they will almost always overheat and explode with an explosion radius greater than that of TNT. The fuel and coolant must be piped in through Waterproof Pipes.