Parallel Furnace Array (320 Furnaces)


Well-Known Member
So I've been needing a way to smelt a large amount of items, but I haven't been able to do so quickly enough. I've gone with various hopper-based solutions, but those were always too slow. So I started looking into running multiple furnaces in parallel, starting with about a couple dozen. Hoppers by themselves weren't fast enough and didn't distribute items to be smelted evenly, so I moved towards a hopper cart based approach. This worked, but even with 2 double chests feeding the hopper carts from above, it was still too slow for the amount of items I was feeding into it. Also, the collection system (at the time entirely hopper based) was very slow. After a lot of experimentation, I was able to land on the design for the a furnace array that would satisfy my requirements with 320 furnaces working in parallel. For each furnace, a hopper cart feeds a hopper with items to smelt on the top, another hopper cart feeds a hopper with fuel in the back, and a third hopper cart pulls smelted items from the bottom.

Thanks to a design by a YouTuber by the name of "xMistaBeastx", I was able to make loading hopper carts as fast as possible by dumping the contents of a chest directly onto the track. I also have a second one for fuel carts.
1 Smelting Input.png
2 Ready to Load.png

Because the furnace array encircles my tower, I can have multiple hopper carts distributing fuel/items at once. Because the array spans multiple chunks, the carts have a tendency to collide and start going the opposite direction when one chunk unloads. So while I'm not using the forge, I keep all of the carts in this contraption. When the lever is pulled, one cart is allowed to leave, then another a little later, then another. This helps to keep the carts a good distance from each other.
3 Hopper Cart Storage.png

The hopper cart distributes one item to each furnace to be smelted in parallel. Because each hopper cart can carry 5 stacks, one cart can fill at most 320 furnaces. For any number of items less than 320, this tends to use one piece of fuel for one item, so coal/charcoal isn't the ideal fuel. Instead, I've been using wooden planks as it's a bit more wood-to-smelted-item efficient.
4 Hopper Cart Distribution.png
5 Smelting Finished.png

I don't have an iron farm, so I haven't been able to completely finish the design. About 25% of the furnaces are completely unused at the moment.
6 Unfinished Section.png

The hopper carts at the bottom of the array use this device (with hopper carts hidden inside) to rapidly empty their contents into the double chest below.
7 Hopper Unloader.png


Well-Known Member
You sir are a total geek. I mean this a compliment as we've played together for over six years now side by side......but man shouldn't you be trying to get your wife preggers or such in your free time?

Regardless; this is impressive. Kudos