How to build flying machine in Minecraft

Minecraft flying machines are fascinating to watch in action (Image via Mojang)
Minecraft flying machines are fascinating to watch in action (Image via Mojang)

Flying machines are interesting Minecraft redstone contraptions. They utilize the ability of slime and honey blocks to stick to other blocks to pull a piston contraption along as it pushes itself. There are amazingly complex designs out there, created by amazingly talented redstone engineers, but the core principles behind flying machines are actually quite simple.

Detailed below are instructions for two incredibly simple flying machines, one horizontal and one veritcal, for players wanting to wrap their heads around the basics of these redstone contraptions.


How to build two different basic Minecraft flying machines

Horizontal flying machine

1) Build the start and end points

An example of a start and end point for a horizontal Minecraft flying machine (Image via Mojang)
An example of a start and end point for a horizontal Minecraft flying machine (Image via Mojang)

Since most flying machines in Minecraft use observers to continually power themselves, they will run indefinitely unless they hit something. This will cause the pistons to no longer be able to extend, breaking the system until the reverse observer is triggered. That means the first thing you should do to make a flying machine is build the start and end spots.

Use Minecraft obsidian for this, as slime and honey blocks cannot actually pull obsidian out of place. This is also why the machine should either be made floating or along a floor of obsidian.


2) Place down an observer

Make sure there's a way to activate the observer (Image via Mojang)
Make sure there's a way to activate the observer (Image via Mojang)

With the start and end points placed down, place a Minecraft observer block facing towards the start. This example flying machine uses a trapdoor as a means of activating the flying machine at will, but anything that an observer can detect will work.


3) Add a sticky piston to the output

Make sure that the observer and sticky piston are placed to activate each other (Image via Mojang)
Make sure that the observer and sticky piston are placed to activate each other (Image via Mojang)

Add a stick piston facing away from the observer attached to the redstone output. This will cause the piston to activate and push the machine forward when the start observer detects anything.


4) Place slime or honey blocks

These slime blocks mark the halfway portion of the flying machine build (Image via Mojang)
These slime blocks mark the halfway portion of the flying machine build (Image via Mojang)

Place two slime or honey blocks, depending on if you've built a Minecraft slime farm or a bee farm, touching the obsidian on the side of the observer and sticky piston. This forms the first half of the machine, and it will pull these two blocks along.


5) Flip and rebuild

Finishing the flying machine build just needs the first half to be flipped and remade (Image via Mojang)
Finishing the flying machine build just needs the first half to be flipped and remade (Image via Mojang)

From here, just flip the design and rebuild it facing the other direction. This will allow the machine to pull itself through the air as well as function in both directions, which is vital for using a flying machine to move throughout a Minecraft survival base.


6) Test the flying machine

The horizontal flying machine in action (Image via Mojang)
The horizontal flying machine in action (Image via Mojang)

Activate the observer near the obsidian pillar. This should cause the flying machine to start flying towards the end point you set up earlier on. Activating the opposite observer should send the machine flying back towards its original spot as well.


Vertical flying machine

1) Build the start and end points

The start and end points for the vertical Minecraft flying machine (Image via Mojang)
The start and end points for the vertical Minecraft flying machine (Image via Mojang)

For the same reasons as constructing a horizonal flying machine, setting up the start and end points at the beginning of the build will stop the machine from flying off into the sky forever. Make sure to build the machine in the air or on a foundation of obsidian to avoid any extra blocks getting stuck to it.

The example flying machine once again uses Minecraft trapdoors as a means of activation. However, any means of activating the observer will work.


2) Build the first row

The finished first row of the vertical flying machine (Image via Mojang)
The finished first row of the vertical flying machine (Image via Mojang)

To make a vertical flying machine, place a sticky piston facing upwards at the end of the obisdian foundation you made. Place a slime or honey block, again depending on if you made a slime farm or a Minecraft bee farm, next to the sticky piston. Finish the row by placing an observer with its redstone input facing towards whichever sticky block you placed.


3) Build the second row

The second row of the vertical flying machine (Image via Mojang)
The second row of the vertical flying machine (Image via Mojang)

Building the second row is even easier than the first. Place a slime block on top of the sticky piston, and then a sticky piston on top of the first row's slime block. Make sure this sticky piston is facing down so that it can actually grab the block.


4) Place the final observer

Make sure that the final observer is facing the right way (Image via Mojang)
Make sure that the final observer is facing the right way (Image via Mojang)

From here, place a final observer on top of the second row's slime block, with its face away from the rest of the Minecraft machine. This should place the redstone output in such a way that it faces the second row's downward-facing sticky piston.


5) Test the flying machine

The vertical flying machine flying upwards to the stop point (Image via Mojang)
The vertical flying machine flying upwards to the stop point (Image via Mojang)

Now that the machine is built, the final step of the build is to test it. Activate the lower observer, which should cause the machine to fly up. Then, activate the upper observer to make sure the machine can run both ways.

A cool moving floor for a fully featured Minecraft mega base is only cool if it doesn't break after running once.

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