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In anticipation of the Redstone Update, I've been experimenting with this type of "wormhead" piston configuration lately:

"Wormhead configuration"

or:

PSXXXXSP

where P = normal piston, S = sticky piston, X = anything .

By alternating power to the two pistons at the extremes, one can move the entire chain in the given direction. A usage of example would be a cane farm like this one:

farm 1 farm 2

or an extendable fence.

This type of configuration will become more useful with the next update (hoppers allow continuous collection of items, redstone blocks allow easier movement in two dimensions).

I don't recall this type of mechanism described anywhere I read (including the Wiki), but as this is basically an extension of the self-propelling piston concept, I doubt that there isn't already a name for it. So, what is the popular name of this type of contraption?

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God i wish I was this creative with redstone. You guys come up with so much awesome stuff. –  Ender Jan 12 '13 at 17:20
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Well, in fairness, I have an engineering background, and I suspect a lot of people who do the more complex stuff have one as well, so I wouldn't say this has necessarily anything to do with your "creativity", and you could probably quickly get up to speed by reading a bit about, say, computer logic :). –  TheTerribleSwiftTomato Jan 12 '13 at 17:49
    
Thanks for the tip –  Ender Jan 12 '13 at 18:20
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1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

This is an inchworm drive. The name is typically used in connection with RedPower frame/motor contraptions, but it's not a actual block's name so it's not especially tied to the RedPower way of building one. It's not unlike what is called an inchworm motor in the real world, so it's a pretty reasonable name for it in the first place. RedPower's users have invented a precedent for calling machines like that in Minecraft "inchworm drives", so using it to describe the same thing implemented with different blocks seems reasonable too.

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That looks excellent, especially since I basically associated the mechanism with earthworms as well. However, after a quick verification it looks like "inchworm drive" is specific to RedPower, whereas the generic term is just "inchworm". I'll accept your answer of course, but could you reverify and edit if necessary? –  TheTerribleSwiftTomato Jan 12 '13 at 17:43
    
@TheTerribleSwiftTomato I noticed that too, but my reasoning went like: "RedPower doesn't have a monopoly on a perfectly descriptive pair of words, and I know 'inchworm [somethingsomething]' is a real term. I'd call it a drive, and it acts like an inchworm, so 'inchworm drive', and lo! it's already called that in another Minecraft context. Inchworm drive it is." Edited to reflect that reasoning a bit better. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 12 '13 at 17:46
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"[...]a monopoly on a perfectly descriptive pair of words,[...]". Heh, like app store ;)? By your description, your reasoning is sound, no further remarks :). –  TheTerribleSwiftTomato Jan 12 '13 at 17:50
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@TheTerribleSwiftTomato Fortunately we don't have trademark lawyers involved in mod wars! But yeah, I believe the term was created by the users of RedPower rather than Eloraam, so it's slightly different even so. –  SevenSidedDie Jan 12 '13 at 17:56
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