Universal Alchemy Setup

From GT New Horizons

Thaumcraft provides several blocks and tubes to manage essentia. These blocks typically have very simple behavior, requiring many of them in order to perform more complex things. This article describes a setup which is capable of distilling any item into essentia, storing it, and using it to perform any alchemical recipe, without requiring any reconfiguration of the system.

A word of caution

  • Digital Essentia is much simpler than the setup described here, but it is only available at EV. This setup can be constructed at MV.
  • Some of the blocks and items will require Eyes of Ender. Their chemical reactor recipe is HV, but you can obtain them earlier by looting, enderblooms, or trading with villagers.
  • This setup is fairly expensive in terms of vis. If you want to build it in one go, it is recommended to have some mechanism to quickly replenish vis, like primal shrooms and a hoe of growth, or a mob farm.
  • A large part of the fun is figuring things out for yourself, so we advise playing around on a creative world before reading this article, even if your solution is not as general or stable as the one presented here.

Essentia distillation and storage

We start with the following 19x19 ring of essentia buffers. This will be the backbone of our system.

Ring of essentia buffers. This is the backbone of our system.
Essentia flows from left to right in this picture. Note the dark red band around the tubes near the buffers.

Essentia buffers are capable of holding 8 points of any kind of essentia (including different types of essentia in the same buffer). By default it has a suction power of 1. Shift-right-clicking twice on the right side of the essentia buffer reduces the suction on that side to 0; this is marked with a red band around the tube. This means that the buffer will not try to pull essentia from the buffer to the right, but the buffer to the right will still try to pull essentia from the buffer to the left. This makes the essentia flow in one direction. By looping back to the start, we make sure that any essentia that enters the buffer ring will permanently cycle around until it is removed.

(Shift-right-clicking reduces the suction to 1 and adds a blue band around the pipe. The default suction is 1, but adding arcane bellows to the essentia buffers raises the suction by 32 for every added bellow. We will not use this ability here.)

The next step is adding jars and an alembic to the ring.

Jars and an alembic connected to the ring of essentia buffers.

To each essentia buffer, connect three jars with tubes as shown above. This is a "slice". Use a wand to disconnect the tubes between two different slices. Corner buffers can connect to two distinct slices. The 19x19 size of the buffer ring gives enough space to add 3 jars of each of the 67 aspects in GTNH, with a bit of room to spare. Add an alchemical furnace with an alembic touching an essentia buffer in one of these spaces.

The jars should be labeled to prevent multiple types of essentia from going to the same slice and clogging the pipes. (You can use an aspect library from Witching Gadgets to get labels for the aspects you still don't have samples for.)

Performing an infusion.

The system is already functional and can be used to distill and store essentia! Essentia buffers don't propagate suction, so jars from one slice do not interfere with jars from another slice. The total area occupied by this system is 25x25, so an infusion matrix placed in the center can reach all the jars.

Handling excess essentia

The system can store up to 192 essentia of each aspect, and any excess essentia will permanently cycle in the buffer ring. There are a few ways of solving this.

  • Probably the best solution is to use void jars. They accept and void excess essentia. Labeled void jars have 48 suction, which is lower than the 64 of normal labeled jars, so the normal jars will fill before the void jar.
  • Alternatively, you can add jars under the essentia buffers to collect the excess essentia. Place the jars in the empty space between the alembic and the last slice of the buffer cycle, so that the slices have a chance of draining the essentia before it reaches the overflow jars.
  • If you have nether stars, you can make an oblivion jar (nether stars are needed for the warded glass). It should also be placed between the alembic and the last slice.

Beware that the last two solutions don't interact well with the expansion done below to automate alchemy.

Automating Alchemy

The next step is adding a thaumatorium and connecting it to the jars in the system.

Ring of essentia tubes connected to the ring of essentia buffers. This configuration is subject to suction conflict between adjacent slices, which is indicated with "steam" particles being expelled from the tubes (not shown in the picture); this is normal.
Thaumatorium connected to the tube ring. Notice that the thaumatorium does not have to be connected to the buffer ring.

We do this by adding a ring of essentia tubes on top of the essentia buffers, adding a "bridge" of filtered essentia tubes between the tube ring and the jars, and adding a thaumatorium connected to the tube ring. The thaumatorium is now functional, and, as long as you have the research for it and the needed essentia, you can perform any crucible recipe!

When performing a recipe, the thaumatorium has a suction power of 128, which is enough to overpower all the jars. This will flood the tube ring with that essentia. When the thaumatorium switches to the next aspect, suction drops and the buffer ring can capture the excess essentia and redistribute back to the jars.

For example, alchemizing a bucket of lava into a bucket of incendium requires 24 ignis and 8 praecantatio. The thaumatorium will first "flood" the tube ring with ignis suction, and also the ignis slice (the other slices will not be affected due to the filter). This will pull more than 24 ignis essentia from the ignis slice, feeding the thaumatorium and "clogging" the tube ring with leftover ignis essentia. Then the thaumatorium switches to praecantatio suction, again with 128 power. This makes the ignis suction drop on the entire tube ring and slowly be converted to praecantatio suction. Once the ignis suction drops sufficiently in some tube, the essentia buffer immediately below it is capable of pulling the excess ignis essentia in, emptying the tube and allowing the praecantatio suction to be propagated. The buffer ring also redistributes the ignis essentia back to the ignis slice. Once the praecantatio suction is propagated to the praecantatio slice, more than 8 praecantatio essentia is pulled and fed to the thaumatorium, which then drops suction and the excess praecantatio flows back to the correct slice through the buffer ring.

The bridge between the tube ring and the jars must be made of filtered essentia tubes for two reasons. First, it means that, while the thaumatorium is sucking praecantatio (for example), the suction will not be propagated to the ignis slice, so the jars can still pull essentia from the buffer ring, allowing essentia to be deposited back while the thaumatorium is still running. Second, it avoids one edge case where the suction in the tube ring drops before the suction in the bridge, which would make the bridge tube pull any essentia from the tube ring, even if it is not the correct one for the slice.