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The BuildCraft wiki is rather light on information, but I need to know: is it possible to use a steam engine to extract items from chests or automatic crafting tables without the engine blowing up? If so, how?

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If you mean running an item from a cobblestone generator, for example, and running it through a chest, and then through an automatic crafting table, yes it's possible. There are a few guides on youtube if I remember correctly, although I've personally never tried –  Domocus Oct 16 '11 at 23:10
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Wooden pipes extract items from chests (and perhaps automatic crafting tables; I haven't tried). Engines can then be attached to the wooden pipe.

I recommend watching the videos on the official YouTube channel to gain a basic, working knowledge of the mod.

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Yes, they will work with auto-crafting tables also, but using this setup, they will explode after a while. –  John the Green Oct 17 '11 at 3:13
    
@John — I've never had that problem. Are you connecting more than one engine to the pipe? –  Ben Blank Oct 17 '11 at 3:15
    
No, I'm not. Which type of engine do you use? I use redstone engines. –  John the Green Oct 17 '11 at 3:30
    
If you have not done so already, I would recommend updating to 2.2 and upgrading your engines. Redstone engines are the weakest, and overheat easily. A combustion engine combined with a cooling source will solve the exploding problem. A steam engine should work as well, as long as you use more than one. –  Domocus Oct 17 '11 at 3:59
    
@Domocus: redstone engines work the best when they are overheated, they won't explode –  Hubert Kario Nov 18 '12 at 12:04
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A wooden pipe powered by a redstone engine is all you really need to extract items from chests or auto crafting tables. Using a combustion or steam engine on a wooden pipe is kind of overkill, and I don't think it makes the pipe extract items any faster. And unlike the other engines, redstone engines will never explode so they don't need cooling.

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