Resource item

How to build an item sorter

One of the coolest things to do in Minecraft is to automate. Players who are resource-laden and well-established in their survival worlds will often build complex contraptions for auto-farming, experience, or anything else they can think of, to make the job easier. From auto farms comes a plethora of unique items that can be tedious to sort and organize. Fortunately, this can also be automated.

This item sorter design uses smart hopper mechanics to effortlessly sort items into different chests. The only issue is that this will work exclusively for stackable items, so any armor or weapons dropped by enemies will unfortunately not be sortable. This design is infinitely tileable, meaning it’s only one block wide and can be built next to itself indefinitely, without the redstone interfering with each other. This allows gamers to create infinitely expandable, yet densely packed storage systems.


How to Build an Item Sorter in Minecraft

For each item players would like to sort, they will need all of the following:

  • A safe
  • Two hoppers
  • Five opaque building blocks
  • Two redstone dust
  • A redstone comparator
  • A Redstone Repeater
  • A redstone torch

Players will also need water which will be added once the full storage system is complete. The amount of water will depend on the size of the drive storage. In addition, shiny lichen may also be necessary, for players intending to sort more than eight types of objects.

To start, players need to figure out where they want their chests to be. Players will likely want the chests at ground level, but should keep in mind that the item sorting mechanic will extend two blocks below the chest, as well as two blocks above it. For the sake of the guide, the complete system will be built above ground, so that everything is clearly visible.

To start, place a hopper behind the chest, leading into it, and a second hopper on top. The hopper on top can be channeled in any direction except down (in this case, it goes left). This makes the bottom hopper actually pick up the items of the top hopper, as it would if placed under a chest, as opposed to the top hopper funneling them directly into it.

Next, players must build the redstone circuit on the back of the hoppers. There should be a comparator sticking out of the top hopper, in two pieces of redstone dust going down. Beneath the dust is a repeater facing the chest, in a block with a Redstone torch on the opposite side. This torch will power the lower hopper, preventing it from picking up items from above. When the torch receives input, it will reverse and temporarily allow items to pass through and into the chest.

Now it’s time to choose which element to sort it. For this example, we’re using chorus fruits, but any stackable item will work. Exactly 22 of the item will be needed, and players should ensure that all hopper slot is filled. The 22 elements can be broken down as the player wishes, but it is imperative that there are exactly as many. If it’s an item that only stacks to 16 (like ender pearls), players should have exactly five in the hopper instead; one per location.

The reason these exact numbers are required is that these are the maximum quantities that will cause the comparators to produce a redstone signal strength of one. When an additional element is added, the force increases to two, energizing the repeater and thus temporarily allowing the elements to pass. When a 23rd item is added, the bottom hopper will steal an item from the top and keep it. When powered up next time, this item will move to the chest, as it is replaced by another item.

That’s actually all there is to the design of the Item Sorter. Now players just have to tile it to meet their storage system needs. The design can be placed side by side as shown below, and even if the redstone dust connects through the sorters, the whole system will still work as expected. In each top hopper will be 22 (or five) of the items players want to sort. Remember to make sure the top hoppers are not pointing down.

Once enough sorters are made, it’s time to add the water jet. This will flow over the hoppers, carrying the items dropped on them. Players can either have mob/farming systems drop their items into the stream, or players can set up the stream as a dump point for their inventories after an expedition into a deep, dark cave.

Water can only sink eight blocks, so for players looking to sort more than eight objects, they’ll need to use an interesting trick involving Glow Lichen. By placing Glow Lichen at the end of a stream, players can then place another stream immediately after it, and the water will not flow back. Items will slide over this block without water in the next stream, allowing an infinite stream of water to carry items.

This water system must be enclosed, to prevent water from destroying the Redstone, but can be cleverly hidden in the ceiling of the player’s storage area if need be. The water jet can also spin around corners, allowing players to adapt their object sorting system to any room shape. If players need more storage space, chests can be replaced with double side chests, or additional hoppers can be placed under them, leading to more chests.