Applied Energistics 2 (AE2) is a mod which allows players to have a truly powerful storage network for all their items, as well as the complete automation of nearly all repetitive systems in ones’ base. People often criticise AE2 for being “overly complicated” and “Inferior to refined storage”. However, once the player wraps their head around AE2s many systems and mechanics, an entirely new world of automation is opened to them. AE2 is, at its core, essentially a giant puzzle; when all the pieces come together in the form of a fully-fledged AE system, it is one of the most satisfying feelings in the world

This guide aims to break down all aspects of Applied Energistics 2 in a comprehensive and easily digestible manner so that more players can wield its incredible power. We will start with the basics and then work our way up. Below there is a table of contents outlining the covered material and allowing you to navigate the guide with ease.

NOTE: Crafting recipes will not be included in this guide, I’m going to assume you can find them on your own easily.


Getting Started        2

Certus Quartz        2

Meteorites        2

Inscriber        3

Crystal Growth & Purification        3

Fluix Crystals        4

Pure Crystals        4

A Basic network        4

Energy Acceptor        4

Cables        4

Storage Cells        5

ME Drive        5

ME Terminal        5

An example network        6

Networking        7

Channels        7

ME Controller        7

Cable Layout        7

A note on colors        9

Import, Export, and Storage Bus        9

Import and Export Bus        9

ME Storage Bus        10

Automation        10

ME Pattern Terminal        10

ME Interface        10

Molecular Assembler & Setup        12

Getting Started

Certus Quartz

While out mining, you will likely come across some Certus Quartz Ore, and small amounts of Charged Certus Quartz Ore. These are the base ores added by AE2 that you will require in order to progress in the mod. Mining them drops Certus Quartz Crystals and Charged Certus Quartz Crystals, respectively. The Y level they can be found at may vary by modpack, but in general, around Y-25 and higher is your best bet

*Note: Charged Certus Quartz Crystals can also be produced by placing Certus Quartz Crystals inside a Charger from AE2, or an Energetic Infuser from Thermal Expansion


Meteorites are a naturally occurring feature in the world which the player has to find in order to procure Inscriber Presses. Meteorites may spawn either above ground or underground. To find them, the player should craft a meteorite compass. This points them in the direction of the chunk containing a meteor. If the chunk you are in contains a meteor, the compass will spin rapidly. If this occurs, but there is no meteor in sight, the meteor is underground – tough luck! The meteor may spawn on the boundary of multiple chunks, so one should also check if the compass spins in surrounding chunks, in order to more effectively pinpoint the location of an underground meteor.

Once a Meteor is found, dig into the middle of it and find the Sky Stone Chest. It may be hard to see as it is nearly the same texture as the surrounding sky stone. Inside it, you should find various Inscriber Presses. These are essential in operating the inscriber, which we will come to shortly. There are 5 types of presses: Engineering, Calculation, Logic, Silicon, and Name. All 5 probably will not spawn in a single meteor, so you will have to repeat the search until you find them. Meteors can often be quite far away, so be prepared!


The inscriber is a machine added by AE2 which allows for the creation of different Printed Circuits and Processors. It requires power either from your existing AE system or directly with an RF energy conduit of your choice.

Crystal Growth & Purification

Many recipes in AE2 require items which cannot be directly crafted; rather, a specific combination of items must be dropped into a water source block.

Fluix Crystals

Fluix Crystals are an essential ingredient throughout AE2. To make them, drop equal parts Redstone, Charged Certus Quartz, and Nether Quartz into a water source block. This produces 2 Fluix Crystals nearly instantly.

Pure Crystals

There are 3 types of Pure Crystals introduced by AE2: Pure Fluix Crystals, Pure Certus Quartz Crystals, and Pure Nether Quartz Crystals. Each of these can be made by dropping Fluix Seeds, Certus Quartz Seeds, or Nether Quartz seeds respectively into a water source block. However, these will take a very long time to grow, unless several Crystal Growth Accelerators are added around the water source block. Growth accelerators must be connected to a powered network; setting that up will be detailed in the following sections.


Number of Accelerators



~12 hours


~12.5 minutes


~5.5 minutes


~3.2 minutes


~2 minutes


~1.4 minutes


<1 minute

A Basic network

Now that you have gotten all the basic components together, it’s time to build a very rudimentary network. At the minimum, we require some form of power to the network, somewhere to store items, and a way to access these items.

Energy Acceptor

The Energy Acceptor is a block which allows an AE network to accept external power. The more devices an AE network has, the more power it requires.


ME cables are the backbone of any network, connecting all devices on your network. There are 2 different overarching types of cables, “ME Cables” and “ME Dense Cables”. Regular ME cables carry 8 channels, while their Dense counterpart can carry up to 32 channels. The concept of channels will be discussed in a later section. These cables also have 3 variants: Glass, Covered and Smart (ME Dense Cables do not have a Glass variant, only regular ME Cables). Between these, the only differences are the visuals. Smart Cables have the unique ability to display the number of devices being used in that cable, something which is very useful when an AE system begins to grow.

Storage Cells




Stacks of items with 1 item in cell

Stacks of items with 63 items in cell













Storage Cells are an item which allow you to store a certain number of items within them. They are typically used in conjunction with an ME Drive in order to manipulate their contents. Drives come in 1k, 4k, 16k, and 64k sizes, corresponding to the number of bytes worth of items a drive can hold. However, the catch is that each drive can only hold 63 types of items. Thus, it is better to store items that you have small numbers of on 1k drives or even in a traditional chest, as putting these items on a larger drive would be inefficient, since the capacity of the drive would be wasted and you would instead hit the type limit. Below is a table which roughly illustrates how much each drive type can store.

ME Drive

The ME Drive is a block which is capable of holding up to 10 Cells. The priority of cells goes from top left to bottom right, row-wise first.

ME Terminal

The ME Terminal allows you to interact with the contents of your storage devices. You can insert or extract items from your system as if it was 1 very large chest. The ME Terminal can be upgraded to an ME Crafting Terminal, which allows for crafting directly from network storage. This has JEI integration included, so you can use the ‘+’ icon in JEI to streamline your crafting.

An example Network

Let’s put everything we have learned so far and build a basic network.

Network devices from AE do not need to be connected by cable, as long they are touching another AE device on the network. This does not apply to Terminals, which must be connected to the network by a cable.

This network currently only has 2 devices on it: The Terminal and the ME Drive. Anything in AE2 that deals with data will use a channel; for example, the Energy Acceptor or Crystal Growth accelerators would not use a channel.

However, this network style can only go so far. Specifically, it can only have 8 devices on the network (8 channels). To overcome this, we need to build an ME Controller and understand the concept of channels.


In AE2, good networking is the key to success. Fully understanding your network layout makes diagnosing problems in the future easier, and to do this one must wrap their head around the cornerstones of AE2 networking. This section will focus on helping people come to grips with the complexities of channel networking, and how to build a network in a clean and organised manner.


As previously mentioned, every AE2 device that has some sort of data interaction takes up 1 channel on the network. If one were to take a length of normal ME cable, and place on it 9 ME Terminals, the entire network will go down (unless you have an ME controller). This makes it crucially important to keep track of how many devices you have on your network. The HUD tooltip will indicate if the device is missing a channel.

ME Controller

The ME Controller is the brain of your ME system. If you want more than 8 devices on your network, you must have a Controller. At its most basic, the ME Controller is just a single block, however, it can be expanded to the size of a 7x7x7 multiblock if you so wish (with some restrictions).

Each face of the ME controller can output up to 32 channels; to take advantage of this, a dense cable must be connected directly to the face. Since a single controller block has 6 faces, this means your network can have up to 192 channels before even needing to build a multiblock controller.

Cable Layout

To take advantage of all the channels available to you, it is crucial to create a clean and distinct layout of cables and channels. To this, I use what I call the ‘Trunk and Branch’ method of cable layout. Let me demonstrate…

Above is a very simple example of the ‘Trunk and Branch’ layout of a network containing just ME drives and a controller.

Directly from the controller, a Dense cable is extended outwards as a ‘Trunk’, and then normal ME cables ‘Branch’ off of the main dense cable. This ensures optimum usage of your channels, while also making it easy to keep track of what channel is being used where. Something to keep in mind is to make sure that 2 branches of your layout never meet in any way, shape, or form. What this creates is a “loop”, which may intern cause confusion in the network allocation of channels. Here are some examples of bad design:

The easy rule of thumbs to follow when designing your networks are as follows:

  1. Do not bottleneck your channels
  2. Every device should only have 1 path from it to the controller along the network.

Following these 2 rules, whatever network you design should be functional and organised. The ‘Trunk and Branch’ method of networking ensures these 2 rules are satisfied, but it is not a requirement in itself.

A note on colors

AE2 provides you with cables of many different colors. While these are partly for aesthetics, the colouring can also be a useful tool for separating out different branches or trunks of a network, since cables of a different color cannot connect to each other (all cables can connect to fluix cables).

Import, Export, and Storage Bus

Import and Export Bus

The Import and Export Bus do as their names imply: import and export items to and from your ME system, respectively. The Import Bus can continuously import from the inventory it is attached to, while the export bus needs to be filtered in order to export from the network. By default, the Export bus can be filtered to export 1 item, but this can be increased to 9 items with the help of Capacity Cards (Cards will get their section later in the guide). Acceleration Cards can be placed into both in order to speed up their respective operations.  

ME Storage Bus

The Storage Bus essentially allows you to connect an external inventory to the ME system to be used as if it was a drive. Anything placed inside the inventory connected to by the ME Storage Bus is accessible by the network. Its priority can be set in its UI; this is recommended if you want items to go into your external storage first, especially if you are using them in conjunction with something like Storage Drawers.


At the core of AE2 is automation; this is what makes it so powerful. Any repetitive process in the game is either partially or fully automatable in some form with AE2. To be able to wield the power of automation, we must understand AE2’s auto-crafting mechanic.

ME Pattern Terminal

This is the first component you need in order to get started with auto-crafting. The Pattern Terminal is an upgrade of the Crafting terminal, although cannot be replaced by it. It allows you to encode Blank Patterns into Encoded Patterns, storing the information about a specific crafting recipe you want to be able to auto-craft. The pattern terminal can create 2 types of patterns: Crafting pattern and Processing patterns. Crafting patterns are used for crafting recipes that can be made in a vanilla crafting table while Processing patterns are for recipes that aren’t. Any recipe you want to auto-craft must have a pattern made for it (generally speaking).

ME Interface

The ME interface is one of the most versatile devices in AE2. It allows AE2 to interact with blocks from other mods, but also has other features too; its primary usage is its role in auto-crafting. Patterns can be placed inside the ME Interface in order to facilitate auto-crafting with an adjacent block. For example, below is a simple setup to automate the production of glass.

Note: The ME Interface has 2 versions: a block and a bus. It is the only device in AE2 that has this feature. The block is useful if you would like to connect multiple machines to the same interface.

The ME interface also has another useful feature, in that any item filtered in the top row of its GUI will be kept in stock inside the interface if possible. For example, let’s say we want to keep at least 32 glass in the first slot of the interface to be accessible by some other entity at all times. We place 32 glass into the top left slot (this will not be consumed). Assuming there is glass available to the system, 32 glass will be placed in the slot below that which you applied the filter.

Molecular Assembler & Setup

The Molecular Assembler is used in conjunction with the ME Interface to allow for auto-crafting of crafting table recipes. It is essentially analogous to the furnace in the above example, except for the fact that it does not require an import bus to bring the finished product back into the system. It is advised to use multiple Molecular Assemblers per Interface, although this is not a necessity. Pictured to the right is an example of a setup in which every face of the ME Interface has a Molecular Assembler on it.

Note: The Molecular Assembler itself does not take any channels but can still transmit 8 channels through it. Keep this in mind when designing your Molecular Assembler setup. Be creative!

My personal favourite setup features a row of 8 interfaces, each with 4 assemblers around them. While not utilizing all 6 sides for crafting, it is fairly space-efficient and simple to build.

ME Interface Terminal

You may have been thinking to yourself “if I cover up all sides of my interface with Molecular Assemblers, how am I supposed to access the interface to put patterns into it?”. Well, the ME Interface Terminal comes to the rescue! This device allows you to access the crafting pattern slots in all interfaces on the network, and they are sorted depending on what they are attached to

Crafting CPU

A crafting CPU is a multiblock structure which acts as the brain of your crafting operations. To be a valid crafting CPU, 2 conditions must be met:

  1. The CPU must be a cuboid, composed of the blocks listed below (air is not allowed)
  2. The CPU must contain at least 1 storage component

Storage components come in 1k, 4k, 16k, and 64k sizes. The more complicated an operation is, the more crafting bytes are required for the operation to be completed.

Crafting Co Processing Units allow for parallel crafts to take place within an operation. If the operation you are trying to complete is complex, adding more Co Processors gives the CPU the ability to complete multiple crafts at the same time in parallel (one parallel craft per Co Processor).

It is usually recommended to build more than 1 crafting CPU, because even if your crafting CPU is quite large and powerful, every CPU can only complete one operation at a time. For example, if you were trying to make both Glass and a Jetpack at the same time, you could only make 1 at a time per CPU multiblock.

Here is an example setup of 3 adjacent Crafting CPU multiblocks. The one on the far left is a 4x3x2, with 23 co-processors and 1 64k crafting storage component. The 2 on the right are 4x1x1, with 3 co processors and 1 4k crafting storage component each. This means that the large multiblock will be used for very complex operations, while the other 2 can be used for simpler parallel operations if the large Crafting CPU is in use.


In AE2, many different cards can be put into various devices, allowing for increased functionality. The card’s tooltip will tell you which devices it can be placed in.

  • Capacity Card: This expands the number of items that can be filtered in the device its placed in
  • Crafting Card: This allows the device it’s placed in, to request crafting of an item if the item is not in stock in the system. This requires that the system which the device is connected to has the ability to auto-craft this item, and has an available crafting CPU
  • Fuzzy Card: Allows for fuzzy filtering of items (for example, exporting wood planks with a fuzzy card will export all types of wood planks)
  • Inverter Card: Acts as a blacklist filter
  • Redstone Card: Allows for the device in question to be activated by a Redstone signal.
  • Acceleration Card: Speeds up the operation of the device in question (who doesn’t love that!)

Wireless Terminal

The Wireless Terminal grants the user portable access to your ME Network. It requires energy to operate and can be charged in any charger. It must be linked to your network with an ME security terminal. In the ME security terminal, you can use a biometric card to register your player or any other player you want to be able to manipulate your network, and grant permissions. For the Wireless Terminal to operate, an ME Wireless Access Point is also required; its range can be extended with the use of Wireless Boosters.

Hopefully, this guide has helped you gain a comprehensive understanding of AE2. While AE2 may seem complicated, with the help of this guide and a bit of practice, anyone can get the hang of it!

Good luck,


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