This is the primary project page for this problem, an ever-changing nexus of links to our solutions.

"We" refers to my brother and myself.

Description of the Problem

We want to use cobble ­— a lot of cobble — in construction, but we either don't like the aesthetic of stripping a landscape or don't want to go through the tedious effort of mining all those other materials that surround cobble as well. It's common knowledge that lava and water combine to renewably create either cobble or stone (depending on whether lava is flowing onto water), and that you can use that to make a cobble or stone generator. That is the solution we want, but we have many, many choices in its implementation.

We want to optimize our design for rate of cobble mining. This means that we want to essentially be able to spend all our time mining, with it generating as quickly as we can mine. Our mining rate is tuned to iron tools, since we have an iron farm on our server already.

Each design should be stable, both in that it performs the same way even when the server lags or Minecraft changes its update pattern slightly, and in that it will not destroy the water and lava source blocks in any way during the process.

Lastly, we want to keep track of the "tech level" of our designs, and keep that to a minimum. This means fewer special materials such as pistons and redstone, and trying to avoid really special materials such as sticky pistons or comparators entirely. ("Really special" just means requiring things like traveling to the nether just for the quartz for the comparator, or finding a chunk that produces slimes for the sticky piston.) Thus, a design that includes, say, sticky pistons, must have a huge improvement in efficiency or stability to warrant that change.

Note that we have a desire for stone production on our server because we use the McMMO mod. Among other things, it adds a mining ability that interacts with environmental stone but not cobble, increasing efficiency dramatically at higher levels.

Our Solutions

If you want more than just our current design, a stone generator, you can see how we iterated to get to that point. Chronologically, we have:

  1. Our first cobble/stone generator. Only one lava source block, producing only one cobble/stone at a time. Thus, slow, but easy to change between producing cobble or stone.
  2. There was an iteration in here I didn't record and don't remember well enough to post about. It was a first attempt at speeding up production, but we eventually realized it was unstable and discarded it.
  3. Then we swapped to this, a stable cobble-only generator that produces a row of cobble at a time. Much faster than the first design, yet comparable in materials.
  4. To swap to stone generation, we now have this design. It requires an extra row of pistons that are sticky, and is just a little shy of perfectly stable, but it does the job well.

Future Work

The stone generator could be made better, I'm certain. To help brainstorm, I plan to go over every design I can find on the Minecraft Wiki and on YouTube and categorize them.