***If you like this Simple Redstone Device, check my new fully automatic chicken farm. For a more complicated Redstone device, check out my two posts (here and here) about constructing a secret door in a staircase using a key item.***

As I’ve said before, many of my readers may be experts in redstone, but in my experience even the simplest redstone designs can appear mystifying to many Minecraft players. Minecraft appeals to a wide variety of players with different aptitudes, interests, and age-levels. Some players focus their creative intelligence on building amazing structures. For some of these right-brained Frank Lloyd Wright types, understanding redstone logic is akin to interpreting a papyrus written in hieratic Egyptian. Moreover, new people are coming to the game of Minecraft everyday with little to no understanding of the wonders of redstone.

With this in mind and as a service to the many redstone-challenged out there, I present an unoriginal design (at least, I assume its unoriginal – I didn’t borrow it from anyone, but it’s so simple that someone has to have created this before me): the garbage disposal.

Put all your excess cobblestone and zombie flesh in this chest and forget about it.

Simply drop unwanted items in the chest, like the stacks of excess cobblestone, zombie flesh, or wheat seeds that you inevitably accumulate in Minecraft, and they will be slowly disposed of. A number of mods add some device that does this. Buildcraft has its void pipe, Thermal Expansion has its Nullifier, Extra Utilities has a Trash Can, and Jammy’s Furniture mod has a Rubbish Bin. But if you don’t have one of these mods installed, or if you’re simply wanting to do things using vanilla redstone mechanics because, like me, you’re a nerd who finds an inordinate amount of satisfaction in doing things the hard way, this design is for you. Here’s how to make one.

First, place a dropper facing downward.

Create a basin underneath the dropper (it can be immediately below it or a block or two down) and place lava there. Enclose this basin.

You need a space behind the dropper that is at least 4 blocks long by 2 blocks wide. Also, place a block adjacent to the dropper on one side. This is the block that will activate the dropper. A dropper will drop one item for each redstone signal, regardless of the signal’s length, so we’re going to use a redstone clock (a self-repeating redstone signal) to make the dropper continue to drop items into the lava so long as it has items to drop.

There are at least two ways you can set up the comparator clock behind the dropper. The way pictured here ticks a little slower than the one in the next picture. The block next to the dropper powers the dropper when it has activated redstone dust on top of it.

This redstone clock ticks very quickly – more quickly, in fact, than a hopper can feed items into the dropper. The first comparator detects if even one item is in the dropper. The repeater converts this into a full-strength redstone signal. The second comparator works as the comparator clock if the torch on it is lit by right-clicking it (otherwise, the setup will still work, but you’ll have an even slower redstone clock than the one in the picture above).

All that’s left is provide some kind of input system for the dropper and to make everything aesthetically pleasing. Here, I have a hopper attached to the front side of the dropper and a deposit chest on top of the hopper. Anything placed in the chest will be drawn from the chest by the hopper and inserted into the dropper, initializing the redstone clock that will make the dropper drop that item into the lava. An upside-down stair block sits over the chest (so the chest can still open). This is what everything would look like if the garbage disposal were set into a wall in your base.

Finally, a view from behind with the wall in place. I placed an oak planks block behind the chest to keep all the redstone completely from view. Clearly, a pipe system could be attached to the dropper from the top of from the other side for automatic disposal of items.

The principle behind this device actually has far-reaching applicability in more complex redstone mechanisms. But that’s better left to another post.