Applied Energistics 2

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A Quick Guide to AE2

This guide will only focus on item storage and autocrafting through AE2 and the foundations of a simple Matter Energy (ME) network, but please note that AE2 is not limited to just this purpose. It is possible to transport energy, fluids, vis, redstone signals, light, and even space. It can do all these things cross-dimensionally on top of this!

A guide to Chemistry Automation exists as well.


Most, but not all, AE2 devices require a channel before it will turn on.

Mousing over a cable shows how many channels are in use

Exceeding the channel capacity of your network will result in the network being shut down until the excess channels are freed up. In general, most things that involve transporting items or permanently holding items (i.e. drives and storage buses) require a channel. Here is a short list of things that require a channel:

  • ME Interface
  • ME Drive
  • ME Import/Export Bus
  • ME Ore Dictionary Export Bus
  • ME Storage Bus
  • ME Chest
  • Crafting Storage Multiblock

Here is a short list of things that don't require a channel:

  • Molecular Assembler
  • Storage Cells (the things that go into an ME Drive)
  • Energy Cell
  • Cables

An ME Controller is a device that will provide 32 channels on each of its faces. Without an ME Controller, your ME network will only be able to support up to 8 channels, so it is highly recommended to have a Controller. If more faces/channels are needed, the controller can also be expanded as a multiblock following these rules:

  1. All ME Controllers in a network must be touching
  2. The maximum length of one axis of the multiblock is 7 blocks
  3. An ME Controller can have 2 adjacent blocks in at most 1 axis

Rule #3 essentially means that, of the 3 axes (north/south, east/west, up/down), only one of those axes can have 2 controller blocks on both sides of any given controller and that the other axes may only have one controller after that. One of the implications of this is that you cannot form a "+" shape with your controllers, whereas a "T" shape is fine.


Six main types of cabling exist: quartz fiber, glass cables, covered cables, smart cables, dense cables, and ME Conduits (from Ender IO).

3 dense cables in action. Each colored line that is lit represents 4 channels in use. In smart cables, each line that is lit represents 1 channel.
  • Quartz Fiber holds power, but not channels. One of its primary uses is to share power between a network and its subnetworks.
  • Glass cables can hold up to 8 channels and power. Covered cables are functionally equivalent to glass cables.
  • Smart cables can hold up to 8 channels and power. In addition to this, they will visually show how many of the 8 channels are currently being used. This makes it very useful for debugging issues that will inevitably arise with any moderately complex network.
  • Dense cables can hold up to 32 channels and power. Just like smart cables, they visually display how many channels are currently in use. The downside is that they cannot connect directly to most other devices except P2P Tunnels and other cables. This means that one of their main purposes is to carry an entire Controller face's worth of channels over long distances.
  • ME Conduits can hold up to 8 channels and power. They are from the Ender IO mod and cannot be colored the same way as AE2 cables. They also cannot connect to AE2 microblocks (such as terminals and flat-face interfaces).
  • Dense ME Conduits can hold up to 32 channels and power. They are the dense version of the Ender IO ME conduits.

Note that glass cables, covered cables, smart cables, and dense cables can all be colored with dye using a shaped crafting recipe. Colored cables will not connect to cables of a different color. The one exception is the default fluix color, which can connect to all other colors. Dyes can also be removed by shaped crafting with a water bucket.

Cable anchors can also be used to prevent same-colored cables from connecting to each other.

P2P Tunnels

P2P tunnels can carry items or fluids from one place to another without showing up on the rest of the network. In addition, they can bundle network channels to carry more channels from one point to another across a separate transport network. Details here

You may use fluid_P2P_tunnels to transport fluids at unlimited rate.


  • A regular terminal will allow the manual insertion/extraction of items into/from the ME network.
  • A pattern terminal is essentially a regular terminal but will also allow one to create patterns for autocrafting purposes (explained below).
  • A crafting terminal is essentially a regular terminal with a crafting grid for 3x3 shaped crafting recipes.
  • An interface terminal allows for the insert/extraction of crafting patterns into/from any interfaces that are connected to the ME network.


Drives hold the "hard drives" of your ME network. Each drive uses 1 channel and can hold up to 10 storage cells each. Storage cells are the "hard drives" that hold the items you insert into an ME network. Storage cells can come in 1K (1024), 4K (4096), 16K (16384), and 64K (65536) byte variants. 1 item = 1 bit and 8 bits = 1 byte, so a stack of a single item = 8 bytes. All storage cells can only hold up to 63 types of items. The storage cell can either use all of its space to hold many stacks of a single item or divvy up that space to split stacks among 63 different item types.

ME IO Port

Perhaps you want to upgrade to a higher capacity storage cell from a lower capacity cell. The IO port allows you do exactly this by transferring items from one storage cell to another storage cell. The direction of transfer can be specified in the UI.


Nearly every minecraft block has an AE2 facade recipe (4 cable anchors + block). Facades allow the hiding of cabling, interfaces, and buses behind a facade of the chosen block. The AE2 Network Tool allows easy removal of facades as well as the ability to see through facades, allowing for easy debugging of your system without tearing everything apart.

Import and Export Buses

Export buses will export items out of a network's storage based on what is put in its filter. It exports very slowly at first and will speed up over time. To speed it up even further, up to 4 acceleration cards can be inserted. To increase the number of filters, up to 4 capacity cards can be inserted.

Import buses will import items into a network's storage. Just like an export bus, it will import slowly at first, but will start to speed up. Again, cards can upgrade the default behavior.

Storage Bus

Storage buses connect to other inventory-like devices, such as JABBA barrels, and treats those inventories like they were storage cells, allowing you to insert/extract from those inventory-like devices. Right clicking on a storage bus will bring up a UI in which one can specifiy which items will be stored by this storage bus, essentially acting as a filter of sorts. Since the inventory is treated as a medium to hold item, like a storage cell, one could theoretically have a drive-less ME network and use pure storage buses instead. Storage buses can be very useful in instances where an upgraded barrel (or a super chest) can hold more of a single item than a storage cell ever could. Storage busses can also be used on Drawer controllers for easy mass storage of multiple types with only one storage bus.

Furthermore, connecting a storage bus to an ME Interface will expose the contents of the network connected to that Interface to the network connected to the storage bus. In other words, if Network A has a storage bus and Network B has an ME Interface, connecting Network A's storage bus to Network B's interface allows Network A to see and interact with all items stored in Network B. This interaction is not two-way. In the aforementioned scenario, A can see the contents of B, but B does not see the contents of A. This allows one to create subnetworks. This feature should be used sparingly for performance reasons.

Figure 1: Interface UI


A sample ME Interface UI is shown on Figure 1:

A simple subnetwork. On the left is Network A's storage bus and on the right is Network B's interface. Network A can see all the storage cell contents of Network B. Notice that Network A is sharing power with Network B via quartz fibre on the top.

ME Interfaces serve a number of purposes. Firstly, they can act as a glorified import and export bus. Inserting items directly into an interface will insert the item into the ME network. Inserting items into slot B shown on Figure 1 will also insert items into the network. Placing an item(s) into one of the 8 slots of slot A in Figure 1 will force it to export that many item(s) into slot B. Something will need to pull the item out of the interface after, since it does not auto-output like an export bus.

As previously mentioned, interfaces also expose the contents of its network to any storage bus that connects to it.

Interfaces also allow for autocrafting. The bottommost row of 9 slots (slot C in Figure 1) can hold crafting/processing patterns (will be explained shortly). The top right slot (slot D in Figure 1) can hold upgrade cards.

Interfaces can be shape-crafted to be in panel-mode or block-mode. Functionally, there is no difference between the two modes. Panel-mode interfaces can seamlessly exist within AE2 facades and can attach to any 6 sides of a cable or a block, whereas block-mode interfaces will take up the whole block space.

Molecular Assembler

This device will perform shaped crafting recipes dictated by the interfaces that are connected to it. It is the primary way of doing shaped crafting recipes in AE2. The molecular assembler itself does not need a channel, but remember that the interfaces connected to it will require a channel each. By default, it crafts slowly but can be sped up with acceleration cards.

Autocrafting in AE2

Setting Up a Pattern

Encoded Patterns hold recipes inside them. Inserting this pattern into an ME Interface will allow one to autocraft that recipe from any terminal of the ME network. To create an Encoded Pattern, a blank pattern and a pattern terminal is needed. Inside the terminal, it will look like Figure 2:

Figure 2: A pattern terminal

It is possible to toggle between creating crafting or processing patterns by clicking on the top right button. The button looks like a crafting table for crafting patterns and a furnace for processing patterns. Blank patterns can be inserted into slot C shown on the diagram. Once a valid pattern is entered, press the button on slot D in the diagram to encode the pattern. Encoded patterns can be overwritten with new recipes (insert it into slot E shown on the diagram and re-encode).

Crafting patterns are for 3x3 shaped crafting recipes. If a valid 3x3 combination of items is set in slot A of the diagram, the corresponding item will automatically show up in the output slot B, which allows you to actually encode the pattern; an empty output is not a valid pattern and cannot be encoded yet. Crafting patterns should be inserted into ME Interfaces that are connected to a Molecular Assembler. Note that any tools used in a shaped crafting recipe will be inserted back into the ME network after the recipe is finished.

Processing patterns are for every other non-shaped crafting recipe, most notably for machines. The left 3x3 grid is set in slot A, which is user configurable and slot B outputs represent the output items for the recipe, which are also user configurable. Just like in crafting patterns, a recipe with an empty output is not a valid pattern. Remember that quantity of items matters here, unlike for a crafting pattern. Processing patterns should be inserted into ME Interfaces that are not connected to a Molecular Assembler.

Setting Up Crafting Storage and Co-Processors

Crafting storage is required alongside patterns. Crafting storage blocks come in 1K, 4K, 16K, and 64K byte variants (similar to storage cells). Crafting storage is essentially a buffer where items are held until the recipe is finished. Because of this, the longer a recipe is (let's say you have 5 or more "chained" recipes for a single recipe) the more storage you will need to start that job.

Crafting Storage can be expanded in a multiblock structure. The only rules are that it must be cuboid and it must have at least 1 crafting storage block. The entire multiblock will only use 1 channel.

Co-Processors allow for recipes to be executed simultaneously amongst many interfaces. For example, if you had 4 encoded patterns for a 1x tin cable and each of those were inserted into 4 separate interfaces, having 3 Co-Processors would allow your ME network to leverage all 4 interfaces as part of the crafting recipe (this means it could use 4 assemblers simultaneously). By default, 0 co-processors in a network means that it can only do 1 interface's worth of that recipe at a time. Co-Processors can be part of the crafting storage multiblock.


When a valid pattern is inserted into an ME Interface, the recipe will be auto-craftable from a terminal. Once the autocraft for that recipe is initiated, all "input" items will be dumped into whatever inventory the pattern-holding interface is connected to.

The key thing to know is that, for processing patterns, the ME network will simply dump all the "input" items of the encoded pattern into the interface's attached inventory and will expect the "output" item to be inserted into the network at some later point in time. If there isn't enough space to dump items into, the ME network will wait until space frees up; it will not send parts of a recipe, it will send it all at once. The output item doesn't have to be inserted into the same ME Interface that started the recipe; it can inserted from anywhere in the network, through any means (import buses work too), and it will satisfy the recipe. With this in mind, autocrafting in AE2 is actually very simple. The ME network has no idea what kind of inventory you are dumping the input items to, it simply dumps items and expects the pattern-specified output(s) back into the system. If it doesn't ever get the expected output(s) back, the ME network will not allow you start another autocrafting recipe, so make sure that you have set the recipe properly. Recipes can also be cancelled at any point.

Let's theorycraft an example. Let's say you want to autocraft 1x tin cables. We need a processing pattern with: 1 1x tin wire and 1 rubber sheet. This can't be dumped directly into an assembler because the rubber sheet has to be fluid extracted, so we will instead connect the interface to a chest. This will make the ME network dump a 1x tin wire and 1 rubber sheet into the chest whenever you request a tin cable from a terminal. From the chest, you can have a filtered Ender IO item conduit take all rubber sheets and insert them into a fluid extractor while taking all non-rubber items and inserting it into an assembler. The output of the assembler (a 1x tin cable) can then be inserted back into the ME network and the recipe will be considered "complete" by the ME network.

Note that you would probably also need to set up autocrafting for the 1x tin wires as well: 1 tin ingot->2 1x tin wires. This recipe could be hooked up directly to a Gregtech wiremill. But note if you do this, you will literally have a limit of 4x9 wiremill recipes. This is because interfaces can only hold 9 recipes each and only 4 of the 6 faces of a Gregtech machine can have an interface attached to it: one is a non-insertible "face" of the machine and the other would be used for EU input. To get around this, we can do what we did before and instead connect the interface to a chest. The chest can then have items transported from it to the machine. You will notice that doing it this way is also easily expandable since we can easily just add more chests/interfaces. As long as the ME network receives 2 1x tin wires after dumping a tin ingot into the chest, any setup is valid.

An interface connected to a chest allows for potentially infinite numbers of interfaces for a single machine.

Applied Energistics 2 Energy Usage in GT:NH

Nearly everything in AE2 requires power to run. Insert/extracting items from the system also consumes some energy. ME systems, by default, use an energy type of AE. Below are estimated quantities of AE/t required per device/storage unit when idle.

AE Energy Conversion

1 EU = 2 AE

Right clicking with an AE2 Network Tool onto any part of your ME system gives a detailed overview about the components in your system and their energy drain. Clicking the top-left button will further convert the default AE units into EU for ease of reading (since this pack mainly deals with Gregtech EU). The list below gives an approximate EU drain for each component in AE2.


  • Controller = 15 EU/t
  • Storage/Interface/Pattern Terminals = 2.5 EU/t
  • Import/Export Bus = 5 EU/t
  • Ore Dictionary Bus = 50 EU/t
  • ME Drive = 10 EU/t
  • ME Interface = 5 EU/t
  • Crafting Unit = 5 EU/t
  • Co-Processor Unit = 5 EU/t
  • Storage/Fluid Storage/Essentia Storage Bus = 5 EU/t

Storage Cells and Crafting Storage

  • 1K Storage Cell = 2.5 EU/t
  • 4K Storage Cell = 5 EU/t
  • 16K Storage Cell = 7.5 EU/t
  • 64K Storage Cell = 10 EU/t
  • 1K, 4K, 16K, and 64K Crafting Storage = 5 EU/t