Complete Guide to Thaumic Energistics Automation

From GT New Horizons

This guide will walk you through setting up a fully automated Thaumic Energistics (ThE) system, including melting items into essentia, Thaumatorium (crucible) crafting, and infusion crafting. At the end of this guide, you will be able to integrate all of these mechanics into your existing Applied Energistics (AE) system. You will be able to request any magically crafted item, and the system will automatically melt down items into essentia, and use the appropriate method to craft the requested item.

The guide assumes a complete knowledge of both the basic Thaumcraft crafting mechanics, and the AE system in general. If you are not sure about how either of these mods work, please refer to the linked pages.

The guide also assumes that you have already completed all the required researches in the Alchemy, Artifice, and Energistics sections of the Thaumonomicon, and are able to craft all the required items or blocks.

Basics of Fakessentia

This entire system will depend on what I will dub "Fakessentia". It is currently impossible to let the ME system recognize actual essentia for crafting, even if it is stored in Essentia Storage Cells in the system. However, we will be able to let the ME system create and use placeholder items representing the different aspects of essentia. We will call these placeholder items "Fakessentia", to remind ourselves that we are not directly working with actual essentia in the system.

All ME crafting patterns that produce or consume essentia will need to be encoded using fakessentia instead. This unfortunately means that we can't simply shift-click the patterns from NEI, we will have to encode every pattern manually.

The easiest way to encode a pattern with fakessentia is to add it to your NEI bookmarks. To do this, we will use the Distillation Pattern Encoder from ThE. Place the encoder, and place any item that you have previously scanned with the Thaumometer in the slot on the left side. Hover over any of the aspects displayed in the middle, and press the NEI Add Bookmark key (default: A) to add the fakessentia to your NEI bookmarks.

The Distillation Pattern Encoder GUI.

Note that if you type the name of the aspect into the NEI search bar, you will find a similarly-looking icon, also named according to the aspect. This icon is not the correct fakessentia, and patterns encoded using it will not work! To tell the difference between the two, look at the mod name. The one you want comes from Thaumic Energistics. The one that NEI shows by default is from Thaumcraft NEI Plugin.

Tooltip of Fakessentia.
Tooltip of essentia from NEI.

After you have fakessentia bookmarked, you can drag it from the bookmark bar to the ME Pattern Terminal to encode recipes with it. Remember that you can type the amount of fakessentia to place in the pattern in the NEI quantity bar (bottom right side), or you can adjust the quantity by pressing the middle mouse button on the fakessentia in the ME pattern.

Fakessentia works exactly like all normal items. You can (with some effort, see below) store it in a chest, hold it in your inventory, do anything else that you could do with any other items. However, you can not smelt it into real essentia. There is one very important distinction: fakessentia will not appear in any ME terminal. This means that if you store fakessentia in your ME system, it will take up space in storage cells and be usable for recipes, but there is no way for you to see how much fakessentia you actually have! We will need to be careful about managing fakessentia so that we don't lose track of it.

We will encode patterns that melt an item into essentia to also produce an equal amount of fakessentia. Similarly, patterns that use essentia (crucible or infusion crafting), will also withdraw the same amount of fakessentia. This means that the amounts of real essentia and fakessentia of all aspects in the system will always be equal. In this way the ME system can "know" how much essentia it has and can use for crafting.

It is extremely important that from this point on you never manipulate the essentia in the ME system yourself. Any interaction that produces or consumes essentia must be handled by the ME system, so that the amounts of real essentia and fakessentia are always equal. If you deposit or withdraw any essentia using a jar or import/export bus, melt an item in the alchemical furnace yourself, or craft a crucible or infusion recipe by hand without requesting it from ME, the amounts will no longer be equal, and the ME system will not have an accurate representation of how much real essentia it holds. If there is more real essentia than fakessentia in the system, ME will not be able to use the real essentia and will try to melt down more items when it doesn't need to. If there is more fakessentia than real essentia, the system might try to craft a recipe it does not have enough real essentia to do, which will not finish, and in case of infusion crafting result in instability spiraling out of control!

Especially since you can't (easily) see how much fakessentia there is in the system, it is very important that you never interact with essentia in the system yourself. If you want to use machines that drain essentia, for example, the Thaumic Restorer, or the Ovrechanting Table, you will need to build a separate system for them.

If you are still getting used to this system, you could use some large external storage, for example, a compressed chest or a drawer system, to store fakessentia in a way that you can see it. Use a storage bus formatted to hold fakessentia (see below for how to do this) and set it to a high priority. As you use your ME system, make sure that the amount of fakessentia in this storage and the amount of real essentia visible in the Essentia Terminal stay exactly the same. However, in a real setup, amounts of essentia in the system quickly become way too high for any such setup to continue being practical, as fakessentia still only stacks up to 64. You will eventually want to move to a purely ME-based storage system, and so you need to make sure that the ME system can use fakessentia correctly.

Storage System

The most basic storage system contains an ME Drive, an ME Pattern Terminal and Essentia Terminal, and a power source (either an ME Controller or an Energy Acceptor). You will need at least three cells in the ME Drive: one Essentia Cell, one item cell to hold fakessentia, and one more item cell to hold items for crafting. To be able to issue crafting requests, you will need a Crafting Storage. Finally, to be able to encode patterns and format cells, you will need a Distillation Pattern Encoder and a Cell Workbench.

Basic item and essentia ME storage.

Note that in this, and all future pictures, I will show a wireless connector that links the displayed section to the ME Controller and the rest of the system. You are of course free to connect all parts of the system by regular ME Cables.

Since fakessentia is invisible through ME terminals, we will want to contain it so that it does not spill over into other storage cells. To do this, use the Cell Workbench to format one storage cell to hold fakessentia. Drag any aspect of fakessentia from your NEI bookmarks to the filter (1), and use a Fuzzy Card (2) to let the cell store fakessentia of all aspects. Leave all other settings on default.

Formatting a fakessentia storage cell.

Once again, remember to format the cell using fakessentia you bookmarked from the Distillation Pattern Encoder, not essentia directly dragged from NEI!

If all the storage cells in your system are in the same drive, ME will prioritize storing fakessentia in the formatted cell. However, if your ME system has multiple drives, or other storage locations, it might be safer to place the fakessentia cell in a separate drive or ME chest, and set it to the highest priority, so that fakessentia always goes only there. You can also use the new Sticky Card in the Cell Workbench when formatting the cell, so that fakessentia is not allowed to be stored anywhere else in the system.

If you ever run into any problems with crafting, and fakessentia spills over to the rest of your ME system, or the amounts of real and fakessentia in your system misalign, you can use an ME IO Port to export all fakessentia from your system into this formatted cell, or from this cell to some other external storage. If you store fakessentia in a chest or other similar inventory, you will be able to see it and interact with it like any other item.

A storage cell can hold 63 different types of fakessentia, so you will probably not need more than one. In addition to this cell, you will also want at least one Essentia Storage Cell to store actual real essentia (likely more than one, as an essentia cell can only hold 12 different aspects), and some number of regular item cells or other storage to hold items for crafting and finished products.

Essentia Distillation

First we want to encode patterns that let the ME system melt down items into essentia. As a reminder, these patterns will produce both real essentia and fakessentia in equal amounts. This is, in fact, handled by Thaumic Energistics automatically, if you encode the patterns correctly.

Below is a picture of a simple essentia distillation setup:

Essentia distillation setup.

Interface with all the distillation patterns is pointed to an Alchemical Grate inside the alchemical furnace (1). You can use a regular ME interface, you don't need a dual interface. If you need more than 36 different items to obtain all the different aspects you will need for crafting, you might need to replace this interface with a subnet setup; refer to an AE guide if you are not sure how to do this.

Essentia is retrieved from the furnace by an Essentia Provider (2). You can also use Essentia Import Buses, although they need Acceleration Cards to move essentia at a decent rate.

Finally, the alchemical furnace is powered by an energized node (3). This is not a part of the ME setup, but the furnace needs centivis to work.

If you do not have the Advanced Alchemical Furnace available yet, you can also replace this setup with similar using the basic Alchemical Furnace. Point the interface at a side of the furnace, extract essentia from alembics using import buses, and keep fuel stocked in the furnace. You can even use the ME system we are setting up right now to autocraft alumentum for this!

Encoding distillation patterns is very simple: all you need to do is to drag the item to be melted from your inventory or from NEI, and drag fakessentia corresponding to all the output aspects from your NEI bookmarks. Adjust the amount of aspects produced using the middle mouse button. You can also encode a pattern that melts a larger stack at the same time, or use the pattern multiplication button, to make AE transfer items to be melted faster.

Encoding a distillation pattern.

You can also use the Distillation Pattern Encoder to do this, although it can only encode patterns that produce only one aspect of essentia. If you are melting items which contain more than one aspect (as most of them do), you need to encode the pattern yourself so that ME receives all the correct types and amounts of fakessentia.

If you want to encode patterns that produce more than three different types of essentia, you will need to use the Processing Pattern Terminal, the Universal Wireless Terminal, or OpenComputers to do this.

Automating the Thaumatorium

Thaumatorium (crucible) crafting patterns will contain both the catalyst item and fakessentia as inputs, and the produced item as output. The catalyst item needs to be inserted into the Thaumatorium, the fakessentia will be simply discarded. Remember that fakessentia is not actually consumed by the craft, it only serves to let the ME system keep track of how much real essentia it has available. Therefore the ME system still needs to deliver real essentia to the Thaumatorium.

An example setup is shown below:

Thaumatorium automation setup.

We will use a small subnet (red) to deliver the input item into the crucible, and void all fakessentia. (No, you can't melt down fakessentia in an alchemical furnace to get even more real essentia.) You can use a simple Trash Can for this too, although it can have issues when you try to insert more than one stack of items in one tick.

Crafting patterns are placed in an interface on the main network (1). The subnet receives them through its own interface (2), and stores them using two storage buses (3, 4). The storage bus on the condenser (3) is formatted to only allow fakessentia in a similar way as we formatted the storage cell earlier: drag any aspect of fakessentia into the filter, and use a Fuzzy Card. Set this storage bus to a high priority, optionally also insert a Sticky Card. The second storage bus (4) inserts the input item into the Thaumatorium.

The output from the Thaumatorium lands back in the main network through another interface (5). Remember that we still need to provide real essentia to the Thaumatorium! This is done via an Essentia Provider (6).

This example setup leaves 6 empty spaces for Mnemonic Matrices (only two are pictured for clarity). You can try doing something more complex with conduits or transvectors to eke out one more, although I would recommend simply setting up another Thaumatorium if needed.

If you want to parallelize crafting across multiple Thaumatoriums, you can use an Interface p2p Tunnel in place of the pattern interface (1). No other change to the setup is needed. Refer to an AE guide for details on how to use interface p2p.

Encode crafting patterns for the Thaumatorium similarly as for essentia distillation: drag the input and output items either from your inventory or from NEI, and drag fakessentia aspects from your bookmarks. Adjust quantity of aspects as needed by middle-clicking.

Note that if you are using a Fluid Pattern Terminal, do not shift-click the whole recipe from NEI. This will insert additional invisible items representing the required aspects. These are not the fakessentia aspects, a pattern encoded like this will not work! Remove these blank items and replace them with fakessentia from your NEI bookmarks.

Automating Infusion

Infusion automation will follow the same idea as the Thaumatorium: add fakessentia representing the aspects in the crafting pattern, and discard it when the pattern gets crafted. Then deliver real essentia to the infusion matrix. This time, we also need to make sure that the items get placed on the pedestals in the correct order. I will show a very simple setup using a subnet with storage buses with different priorities; for more advanced setups consult a dedicated infusion automation guide. Here we will mainly focus on how to get the essentia properly accounted for.

An example infusion setup is in the picture below:

Infusion automation setup.

Crafting patterns are held in an interface on the main network (1). Make sure to activate blocking mode in this interface, so that the system doesn't try to craft two recipes at the same time. All input items are received by the subnet in the interface (2). Insert an Advanced Blocking Card into this interface so that it correctly blocks insertion if any of the pedestals still contains items. Like with the Thaumatorium, fakessentia is voided by a storage bus on an ME Condenser or other voiding inventory (3). Format this interface in the same way as in the Thaumatorium setup, and remember to set it to the highest priority.

All the remaining input items need to be distributed on the infusion pedestals. To do this, we use storage buses with different priorities. The highest priority storage bus (but still lower than the fakessentia one) is on the middle pedestal (4, obscured in the picture), so it will always store the first item in the recipe. All the storage buses on the outer pedestals (5, three more symmetrically in the background) have the lowest priority, so that they will store all the remaining items in the recipe.

To start the infusion, we use the Infusion Claw from Gadomancy. Turn the claw on using an ME Level Emitter on the subnet (6). Set the emitter to emit signal when levels are above or equal to the limit (this is the default setting), set the required quantity to 2, and leave the item field unset. This setting will emit a signal whenever there are at least two items in the subnet; that is, when the infusion is ready to start. We set it to detect two items instead of one, so that it properly resets when the infusion finishes and another one is started immediately.

We use a filtered Item Conduit from EnderIO to retrieve the finished item (7) and deposit it back into an interface on the main network (8) to complete the craft. Set the filter on the conduit to only extract the output items, so that it does not pull out the central input early.

Finally, real essentia is provided to the setup using an Infusion Intercepter from Thaumic Insurgence, and an Essentia Provider underneath the central infusion pedestal (9). Just in case this is not clear from the picture, the Essentia Provider is connected to the main (blue) network.

This simple method has some subtle issues, and there are more advanced and better setups, with world accelerators, automated detection of infusion ending, and so on. Feel free to choose an approach that fits best to your needs and resources. The basic principle remains the same: discard all fakessentia, deposit the first item on the middle pedestal, all other items on the outer pedestals, and deliver real essentia through an Essentia Provider/Intercepter, or even simply by an Infusion Provider.

Encoding patterns is once again similar to the other setups. Use either real items or items dragged from NEI, and use fakessentia from your NEI bookmarks. Make sure that the item that needs to go on the center pedestal is always first in the recipe, so that it is placed correctly. If a recipe requires more than nine inputs (counting both items and essentia), you will need the Processing Terminal, Universal Wireless Terminal, or OpenComputers to encode the pattern.

If you want to save time by shift-clicking the recipe from NEI, make sure to remove the fake items that NEI places in the recipe, and replace them with the correct fakessentia.

This is what the pattern for a Pickaxe of the Core looks like:

Pattern for a Pickaxe of the Core.

Example Craft

For an example of a crafting plan using a combination of all of the above setups, let us craft a Pickaxe of the Core:

Example of a complex crafting plan.

This plan melts various items into essentia (including wooden pickaxes, which are crafted recursively), uses the Thaumatorium to craft Thaumium, Arcane Assembler (not detailed here, refer to the Thaumonomicon or a basic ThE guide) to craft the Fire Clusters, as well as regular crafting and machines to make the other components. Finally, everything gets put together using Infusion.

This plan executes correctly and crafts the pickaxe.

Importing Essentia from Other Systems

Maybe you already have some essentia stored in your ME system, or even in warded jars, and you want to move it to your new Energistics system. Remember that the system needs to hold the same amount of fakessentia as it does real essentia, so this is not as simple as using an input bus or clicking on the Essentia Terminal with a warded jar. We need to also create the correct amount of fakessentia.

To do this, we need to trick the ME system to think that essentia is being crafted. First create a crafting pattern using two dummy items, we will use Dirt and Stone. (Any two cheap items work for this.) The pattern should consume one Dirt, and create one Stone plus exactly as much fakessentia as you want to import real essentia into the system. Once again drag the fakessentia from your NEI bookmarks.

A pattern to create fakessentia.

Place an ME Interface on a chest that is not connected to any automation, and put this pattern into this interface. Put one dirt block into the ME system. Request the stone block. You should see the ME system insert the dirt block into the chest. Now insert exactly the amount and type of essentia that you specified in the pattern (in the example above, 64 Praecantatio). You can do this using either an Essentia Import Bus, or simply by placing Warded Jars or other containers of essentia into the Essentia Terminal.

If you did this correctly, the crafting progress screen in the ME system should look like this:

Crafting status after successfully importing essentia.

Notice that all the essentia (this is in fact fakessentia) is stored in the crafting storage; and the real essentia is already stored in the ME system.

When you see this, cancel the craft. This will move the fakessentia from the crafting storage into the ME system. If you did this correctly, you have created the same amount of fakessentia as you have inserted real essentia, and the ME system is ready to use both for crafting.

Repeat this for all types of essentia that you want to import. You can also use larger patterns (using the Processing Terminal) to import many different types of essentia at the same time with one craft. Just remember that the amount of fakessentia in the pattern must be exactly equal to the amount of real essentia that you are inserting into the system.

Things Not to Do

Do not under any circumstances do any of these things with your system, as doing this will unbalance the amount of real essentia and fakessentia for various reasons:

  • Request crafting of essentia directly from the Essentia Terminal. This will produce real essentia, but it will not create fakessentia correctly.
  • Use a Level Maintainer to try to maintain an amount of essentia in the system. This will create different amounts of real and fakessentia (usually more real than fake). However, maintaining an amount of some item that is crafted using essentia (for example, Alumentum) works fine.
  • Insert or extract any essentia into or out of the system using anything other than requesting ME crafts. This includes using warded jars, essentia import/export buses, manually using the Thaumatorium or the infusion altar to craft anything, or any other tools or machines that use essentia, such as a Thaumic Restorer, Overchanting Table, etc.
  • Allow an infusion to attain any level of instability at all. This can cause it to consume extra essentia, which will not be properly subtracted from fakessentia in the system. I recommend placing a large amount of extra stabilizers just to be sure, especially if you plan to WA the infusion matrix.

If you ever run into essentia-related problems, for example the system reusing to start a craft even though it has enough essentia, or running out of essentia during a craft, it is possible that the amounts of real and fake essentia in the system have drifted apart from each other. Use an ME IO port to export all fakessentia into a chest (or other large storage), and manually insert the correct amounts into the system, exactly equal to the amount of real essentia stored.