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The default area to be mined can be altered with Land Marks by defining a rectangle or cuboid with them and placing the Quarry next to one of the Land Marks. Black and yellow guidelines will appear showing the area it will be working on.
When first powered, the Quarry will spawn a floating robot that destroys any blocks within the yellow and black guidelines. It then forms a structure of Quarry Frames that outlines the area to be mined, and the drill appears. The Quarry will keep the chunks that it is mining on loaded in memory even if unpowered, thus it can serve as an expensive alternative to the Chunk Loader.
Changing the mining area
Land Marks can be used to define an operating area for the Quarry. The area can be expanded to a maximum of 64 x 64 blocks with 3 Land Marks or shrunk to a minimum of 3 x 3. It is also possible to change the height of the frame using a fourth Land Mark placed above the corner one, although heights lower than 5 blocks will be ignored. It is also possible to define an area larger than 64 x 64 by placing multiple Land Marks in line, because each one has a range of 64 blocks. There is however a certain limit, at which the Quarry will say that the area is outside of chunk loading bounds. The video below (in the video section) explains the process (including changing the configuration files)
Once the area has been defined, all Land Marks activated by right-clicking and red lasers between them form a rectangle or cuboid, the Quarry can be placed next to any Land Mark. It will destroy and drop all Land Marks, create black and yellow lines outlining the mining area and a robot will start clearing the area and constructing the frame and drill.
If the Quarry is placed incorrectly (on the red beam) then the robot will destroy the Quarry itself, because it is in the mining area. Because items cleared by the robot are not dropped, it will be lost.
A Quarry requires MJ to work. Its speed varies by how much energy (MJ/t) is provided, but efficiency decreases with increased energy supply. The maximum energy comsumption varies depending on the presence of GregTech and the base Minecraft version:
- Prior to Minecraft 1.5: unlimited, but maximum speed is 6.63 blocks per second at 50 MJ/t
- As of Minecraft 1.5: 50 MJ/t (digs at 6.63 blocks per seconds)
- Any version, with GregTech: 100 MJ/t (digs faster than the player can walk)
As of recent BuildCraft a minimum of 4 MJ/t is needed and at least 8 MJ/t is recommended for proper functioning.
The Quarry will dig through Water but is stopped by Lava; the best way to combat this is to either have a lake in the mining area or to manually place water in the Quarry pit. This will turn all Lava into Cobblestone, Stone or Obsidian, allowing the Quarry to continue mining. Alternately, mining in the ocean has the twin advantages of fewer soil levels to clear and existing Water blocks.
A Quarry will break almost any type of block in its way, including Chests, Spawners, Beehives and ores. The drill will pick up loose items that it passes over, similar to an Obsidian Transport Pipe. The main disadvantage of a Quarry is that it cannot carry enchantments such as Fortune or Silk Touch.
Blocks or items mined or picked up by the Quarry are expelled from it immediately, unless a Transport Pipe or inventory is located next to it. In this case the Quarry will place the items into the pipe or inventory instead. A combination of a Diamond Transport Pipe for sorting, Void Transport Pipe for deleting unwanted blocks, and an Ender Chest or Item Tesseract is commonly used to carry the output of a Quarry to a base or storage system. A system that automatically empties the Ender Chest is necessary to keep it from quickly overflowing with the Quarry's output.
The Quarry output can be sent to an Ore Processor which will automate the process of turning ore into ingots.
In older versions there was a bug (fixed in BC 3.4.2) where it was possible for Quarries to delete Bedrock. This happened when Bedrock was in the operating area during the building stage. This glitch could be used to get into the Nether's upper void, where blocks can be placed, the area is perfectly flat and, due to Bedrock's technical transparency, is also mob-free. It was also possible to get into either world's lower void. However, this required an existing hole in the Bedrock, which is an extremely rare occurrence.