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Ore processors are not blocks but complex machines consisting of many blocks from one or more mods. They are typically able to be automated but some mods are easier to automate. Automation is most commonly done with Buildcraft pipes and sometimes RedPower 2 tubes. They are most commonly used to automate the processing of the output of a quarry or miner. Most ore processors increase the ratio of ores to ingots or allow for easier automation.
As a reference point, the most basic ore processor is an unautomated vanilla furnace. It converts ores to ingots at a 1:1 ratio using basic fuels and has no additional products.
The IC2 ore processor is very simple to build and the automation difficulty is only moderate. The most common build consists of a macerator and an electric furnace from the IndustrialCraft 2 mod. The macerator converts each piece of metal ore into two pieces of metal dust. The dust is then smelted. This converts ores to ingots at a 1:2 ratio using electricity that can be generated from a number of resources.
GregTech also provides new ores and the industrial grinder. Because the industrial grinder produces multiple outputs and its optimal inputs can change depending on the ore being processed, it is much harder to fully automate it. GregTech also provides its own automation system. The ratios of ores to ingots varies and several ores produce dusts from additional bars. The grinder requires electricity and water with some recipes requiring mercury cells and sodium persulfate cells. Other recipes yield better resuts with mercury and sodium persulfate cells instead of water.
Machines from the factorization mod can be used in place of the IC2 machines. Factorization is much more complex, considerably slower, and not as beginner friendly. The ratio of ores to ingots is approximately 1:3, making it the most efficient ore processor for the more basic ores. The process produces clay as a side product. The process consists of several machines and the process can be stopped at several points of the process and turned into ingots but it is more efficient to follow the process to the end. All of the machines in the process use charge, Factorization's form of electricity that can currently be produced only by using solar turbines. This ore processor works for silver, copper, tin, gold, and iron ore.
- The process can begin as early as the slag furnace which can be powered by a Furnace Heater or by basic fuels. An ore has a 40% chance of producing stone and 120% chance for the ingot. Note that silver however has a 100% chance of producing silver and a 120% chance of producing lead.
- The grinder is a much more efficient first step. It is powered by charge. It produces has a 140% chance of producing dirty metal gravel from one ore. The process can be stopped here using the slag furnace. The slag furnace has a 142% chance of producing ingots and a 20% chance of producing dirt. This means that approximately 1.98 ingots will be produced from one ore (140%*142%). Silver ore will produce dirty galena chunks that can not be processed by a slag furnace.
- Dirty metal gravel can be placed in the mixer with a water bucket to produce clean metal chunks at a 1:1 ratio, an empty bucket, and sludge. The mixer is powered by charge. To automate the mixer is fairly difficult with Buildcraft pipes but somewhat easier with RedPower 2 tubes if the player knows how to use it because the used water buckets must be replaced. The sludge can be placed in a mixer with one dirt block and a water bucket to produce clay and an empty bucket.
- The clean chunks are then smelted in a slag furnace to produce reduced chunks. The slag furnace has a 142% chance of producing reduced metal chunks. It should be noted that clean silver chunks has a 160% chance of producing reduced lead chunks and a 110% chance of producing reduced silver chunks.
- The next step is to place the reduced chunks in a crystallizer to produce crystalline metal. There is a 150% chance of producing the crystalline metal. The crystallizer requires sulfuric acid for it to operate. The sulfuric acid will not be consumed. The crystallizer has 6 input slots and a single output slot. This means that a player can manually distribute reduced chunks throughout the 5 remaining slots to make it process 5 reduced chunks in one cycle. The downside to this is that it is difficult to automate as pipes will only place chunks into the first slot until that one is full before it begins to fill the next one so players must manually distribute the reduced chunks. The single output slot means that only one type of reduced chunks can be processed at a time. The crystallizer must be powered by a furnace heater. A furnace heater may power your slag furnace and your crystallizer at the same time without problems. The crystalline metal can then be smelted in any furnace to produce ingots at a 1:1 ratio.
This process produces approximately 2.98 ingots from one ore (140%*142*150%). This means that it produces the most ingots per ore. The process is also the slowest because the crystallizer requires 20 minutes (real time) for it to produce crystalline ore.
Thermal Expansion also offers an ore processing system. It is easy to build the machines and it is the easier to automate. This consists of a pulverizer and either a powered furnace or an induction smelter although some players may wish to use faster furnaces from IC2. The pulverizer turns one ore into two pulverized ores much like the macerator.
Ores also have a small chance to produce a separate pulverized ore. For example, copper ore produces 2 pulverized copper and has a 5% chance of producing one pulverized gold. Ores that have this property are: copper (5% chance of pulverized gold), tin (5%chance of pulverized iron), silver(5% chance of pulverized lead), lead (5% chance of pulverized silver), and iron (100% chance of ferrous dust). For ores that have this property, this processor is superior to the IC2 ore processor in ore efficiency but it is slower so one may wish to use the IC2 ore processor for other ores.
One may skip using the pulverizer and place his/her ores directly in an induction smelter. This will use 320 MJs as opposed to 400 from using the ores in the pulverizer and 80 from the pulverized metal. Using the induction smelter will save 160 MJs but it does not have the chance to produce an additional pulverized ore. It will also produce slag which can be cooked into rockwool.
However, if a player is using a more up to date version of Thermal Expansion, smelting ores in an induction smelter has a 20% chance of producing rich slag. Rich slag is unavailable in the current verion of the Feed The Beast Beta Pack A. Rich slag is used with 2 pulverized metal to change the output to 3 ingots. Therefore, a player would smelt 5 ores to produce one rich slag (statistically). Then the player would pulverize one ore and smelt the product with the rich slag. Therefore, 6 ores would produce 13 ingots. The ratio is 1:2.16 (repeating six) or 1:2 1/6th and with a chance of less than one percent (5/6%) of producing an additional pulverized metal. This makes it more efficient than the pulverizer if the player has access to a newer version of Thermal Expansion.
This brings the ratio of ores to ingots to 1:2 with a small chance of additional ores and if using an induction furnace, slag. The machines use Buildcraft energy.
The Thermal Expansion machines are optimized for automation because the machines allow the sides to be set to receive inputs or output using a simple color-coded system. Relating to the copper ore example above, the ore could be pumped into one side (blue), the two pulverized copper could leave through another (red), and any pulverized gold could leave through a third side (red) or it could be configured to exit through the same side as the pulverized copper (orange). Products are outputed without requiring a wooden transport pipe. Machines may be placed directly next to each other aslong as the sides are properly configured. This allows you to set up a complete ore processor with only one wooden pipe connected to a hopper, to provide a buffer, above your pulverizer and a wooden chest.
Hoppers and pipes or itemductsEdit
It's recommendable to use a Hopper (Upgrade) on your machines to avoid issues due to overfilling, e.g. when several different ores are put in in short succession. If that happened the item would be thrown on the ground at the end of a pipe. Using a Hopper gives 4 spare slots where anything that currently doesnt fit in the input slot of your machine can be buffered temporarily and put in when the machine is free again instead.
Usually one hopper is quite enough to avoid overfilling in most situations, due to Quarries rarely mining more than 5 different ore types in such a rapid succession.
Another way to avoid overfilling issues is to connect the Thermal Expansion machines directly to the Hopper without any piping, or even directly to the next machine. That way the first machine wont even output its product unless the second machine, or hopper, is free and can accept the item.
Not using buildcraft pipes at all, and using itemducts or logisticspipes instead, also solves the problem of items being thrown on the ground. Some modpacks however lack the logistic pipes, such as Mindcrack.
A step-by-step guide to building an ore processor with IndustrialCraft2 and BuildCraft.
A basic ore processing setup used when just starting out a new survival.