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aliceingame

Prospector's pick : How to use at it's best.

11 posts in this topic

Hi, first of all, I hate when people do it, but I'll start by saying that English is not my first language (I got a bad comment about my grammar in my first post here...). I would be appreciated if you help me improve the English level of this post.

When I first used the prospector's pick, I had no idea of how to use it, and how to use the readings it gave. This post will be a guide about the techniques I found in Youtube or in this forum. I will explain and analyse these technique.

NOTE : Click on the picture for full size screenshot.

How to find ore

The first thing to do before using the pick, if actually finding the right spot. As most player know, if you find small pieces of mineral while you punch the ground, then you are around the right spot. Basically, you just want to punch rocks and when you find some pieces of metal, that you can mark using stone, torch, flower, fence post or anything you want. Once done, you want to use the pick to go to the ore, but you usually don't get any reading from the ground level (of course it's possible if you are lucky). The best way to find your first reading is to choose a spot in the middle of your marking and dig. You should get a reading when you hit the rock level under the dirt, or maximum four block under.From your first reading, you might want to dig down a bit before prospecting (if you dig 12 block down, you should hit the vein while prospecting) or you can start prospecting than dig just at the right place to find your ore.

Analysis breakdown

In order to test the techniques I found, I first created a world in creative mode. I looked around for small pieces of ore, dig down until I hit rock, where I had a reading and flatten the entire zone to that level. Once done, I marked the readings with different color of wool, then filled the empty spot with a similar color. With the reading done, I only have to use the prospecting techniques and dig to see if if find ore.

Posted Image

Vein area after digging

Posted Image

Prospecting result. White-Traces, Orange-Small, Pink-Medium, Blue-Large, Green-Very Large. The middle of the to section of very large was not prospected. Also note interfering readings in black.

Posted Image

In the same order order, grey, yellow, purple, light blue and lime wool used to indicate guessed readings of two types. 1. All the blocks between two blocks of the same reading. 2. Reading one or two block deeper or higher.

1. Level change technique

This is the technique I found in a video by TheRealBassetts (

). As he said in the video, he got his technique in the forum, I just want to give him credits because I fist saw it trough his video.

Technique breakdown

Posted Image

  • Prospect on a line until you find a point where the reading level change. (The "change point" marked by redstone torch)
  • From this point, walk 12 blocks in the direction of the highest reading.
  • Turn left or right and prospect until you find the point where the reading level change. (I turned left)
  • From this point, walk 12 blocks in the direction of the highest reading (usually you would have to walk backward).
  • Dig until you find the vein, you will find it 13 block down or less. (the red wool indicate the point where you have to dig).
Analysis

I tried this technique from 4 different point, starting from different density, (traces, small sample, etc...), for one point I tried turning left and right at step 3 to get to entry points, and for one point that was in a reading corner, I tried going top and left. I ended up testing 6 different entry point. Result, 5 time I found ore right under the entry point, and for the sixth one, I fond it in a 1 block radius in a + shape.

Posted Image

My 6 points and the way I found them.

Pro

  • Effective to find a vein using the pick as less as possible.
  • Based on my test, it's 100% effective. You should hit the vein all the time if you dig in a 3x3 staircase (as normal players don't dig straight down).
Con
  • Not the best technique to find small pockets of ore in a a vein formed of many small pockets.
2. Vein framing technique

This is the technique I found in a video by Syrolux (

). I named this technique the "vein framing" because the goal is to frame the vein, or if you prefer, to locate a box around the entire vein, then you only have to mine inside of this frame to find all the ore available in the vein.

Technique breakdown

Posted Image

The redstobe torch mark my starting point, the redstone one the ground mark the 12 block count and give an idea of the final frame.

  • On a point where you have a reading, mine in straight line until you don't get a reading anymore (you might want to have 3 to 5 negative reading in a row to avoid conflicting false negative).
  • From the last reading, count 12 block toward the highest reading and put a marker.
  • Continue mining in the opposite direction until you have no hit, turn around, count 12 and place a marker.
  • You pinned down the width of your vein.
  • From the middle point between your two markers, mine in in the two other direction until you get no hit, count 12 and place a marker.
  • You also pinned down the length of the vein.
  • From the middle point, mine up and down the same way to pin down the height of the vein.

Analysis

When you look at the reading, you realize that the reading box have quite square edges, but that the corners are a bit round. In other words, if you count 12 block from the edge of this square, or if you count 12 block from a last reading that is not on the edge of the square, you might end up with a box that is too small for the vein. What I did is to draw two boxes, the largest possible, and the smallest possible. First I dug around the biggest frame, leaving everything from the smallest box in place. On the left and top line i got some ore sight on the line of my box, and on the right and bottom lines, I only got ore one box next to the line. Result, 100% of the ore was inside of my box. However, all what I found was outside of the small box. Of course, the biggest part of the vein was vein was framed. If well executed, this technique will be extremely exact.

Posted Image

The large box is indicated by redstone, and the small one in red wool. There is less readings in the top right corner, that's why we get a smaller box.

Posted Image

Everything is inside the big redstone box and not everything is covered by the small fence box. (I broke one ore piece by mistake, replaced by orange wood).

Additional tips

  • To get the biggest box, you should always prospect on a line where you get the highest reading for that vein, so you are not on the edge of the vein. At point 5, always dig from the middle, if you get your with a bit wrong, at least you will get your length right because you are prospecting in the middle of the vein. at the end, if you go up or down from the middle, you should hit the vein in the middle.
  • If you dig down to get you first reading, mine at least 3 block lower before testing your lines. Instead of testing many block in a row to check if you got a false negative, hit the walls and ceiling too. The ceiling being the first layer where you get readings, the walls the second an third, and the floor the 4th.
  • Assuming you found the vein from the top, if you dig 14 block bellow your first reading, you will hit the vein during the framing process. If you only dig 12 down, you will walk on the vein instead of mining trough it.
Pro
  • Really accurate to frame 100% of the ore of a complete vein.
Con
  • Require a lot of mining, and more than 100 mined blocks will completely be out of the box. In my example none of the prospected block where in the box.
Edited by aliceingame
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A few pointers:

1) Your ore finding technique only works for surface ores, so it only works for zinc, bismuth, tin and copper, which are all useless ores that can be found literally everywhere.

2) Sluices check for ores to about 60 blocks below them and 100m around, so they can be used as a stronger, yet less accurate version of spotting for surface ores (there's more to sluices than that, but there's multiple threads about it already).

3) Checking for ores in caves is even easier. Find a cave, spot ores sticking out or use the prospecting pick randomly at the floors/walls to find a vein. The level at which caves spawn, usually means that there's not just surface ores, but all kinds of ores down there.

4) If an ore is not a surface ore, the LAST place you want to look for it, is a biome that has the surface rock type that the wiki claims contains the ore. Why? Because the top layer of rock doesn't contain anything, but surface ores and when you go down, you'll end up in a different rock type.

5) The level change technique works really well for isolated veins, like the surface ores, but can be pretty useless once you go deeper to mine. At optimal mining levels, the vein you are looking for is surrounded by tons of other ores, so the pro-pick readings will be all over the place and pin-pointing the spot where the reading changes will be impossible. On top of that, there's certain kinds of veins that are more scattered in formation, which require you to use a branch-mining technique, after you get a few readings and can guesstimate what direction you have to dig in.

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A few pointers:

1) Your ore finding technique only works for surface ores, so it only works for zinc, bismuth, tin and copper, which are all useless ores that can be found literally everywhere.

2) Sluices check for ores to about 60 blocks below them and 100m around, so they can be used as a stronger, yet less accurate version of spotting for surface ores (there's more to sluices than that, but there's multiple threads about it already).

3) Checking for ores in caves is even easier. Find a cave, spot ores sticking out or use the prospecting pick randomly at the floors/walls to find a vein. The level at which caves spawn, usually means that there's not just surface ores, but all kinds of ores down there.

4) If an ore is not a surface ore, the LAST place you want to look for it, is a biome that has the surface rock type that the wiki claims contains the ore. Why? Because the top layer of rock doesn't contain anything, but surface ores and when you go down, you'll end up in a different rock type.

5) The level change technique works really well for isolated veins, like the surface ores, but can be pretty useless once you go deeper to mine. At optimal mining levels, the vein you are looking for is surrounded by tons of other ores, so the pro-pick readings will be all over the place and pin-pointing the spot where the reading changes will be impossible. On top of that, there's certain kinds of veins that are more scattered in formation, which require you to use a branch-mining technique, after you get a few readings and can guesstimate what direction you have to dig in.

1. I would not call it "my" technique, but... anyways. I think it would also work in deeper level.

2. Finding nuggets was more efficient than sluice for me.

3. Maybe, but I explored a huge cave system and almost never saw visible vein. I guess I would have to check at the optimal level.

4. Good point.

5. In deeper level with more interference, I am wondering how it would work. Will have to test it out. And yes, one problem of this technique is if the vein is made of pockets of ore, then you will only hit one pocket.

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1. I would not call it "my" technique, but... anyways. I think it would also work in deeper level.

No, because surface rocks never work for finding stuff on a deeper level. I'm referring to the fact that you advice to hit surface rocks looking for ore.

2. Finding nuggets was more efficient than sluice for me.

They are more effective, since the range is smaller. They don't pick up ores as deep underground though.

3. Maybe, but I explored a huge cave system and almost never saw visible vein. I guess I would have to check at the optimal level.

Yeah, you have to have a cave system that is deep enough.

5. In deeper level with more interference, I am wondering how it would work. Will have to test it out. And yes, one problem of this technique is if the vein is made of pockets of ore, then you will only hit one pocket.

You won't hit one pocket, you'll hit both, that's the point. Two small veins might cause a medium vein reading if you're standing in-between them. Using your system, you'd end up mining in-between them and not finding anything (I've been there)
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In my actual game, I found my first Sphalerite visible vein in a cave system. The other times I found some was in creative.

I also found a HUGE area of Sphalerite mixed with Limonite. The vein is so messy, all made of small pockets of 1 to 4 block of ore. With the technique 1 I was able to get to the general area, but the vein is so hart do work with.

I never got anything else than Cassiterite, Bismuthenite and Sphalerite in a sluice. Do you know if they can pick something else ? If they can, I may try them in a underground cave.

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In my actual game, I found my first Sphalerite visible vein in a cave system. The other times I found some was in creative.

I also found a HUGE area of Sphalerite mixed with Limonite. The vein is so messy, all made of small pockets of 1 to 4 block of ore. With the technique 1 I was able to get to the general area, but the vein is so hart do work with.

In the right biome, sphalerite is all over the place :)

I never got anything else than Cassiterite, Bismuthenite and Sphalerite in a sluice. Do you know if they can pick something else ? If they can, I may try them in a underground cave.

You can pick up anything, but the sluice only reaches 60 blocks down, meaning it only picks up those three and copper. If you dig a tunnel into the earth and drop the water down with you, you can actually make sluices that pick up even, say, Galena.

In fact, some people don't ever use their pickaxe, preferring a system of tons of sluices. If the sluice picks up too much useless junk, you can clear that with your pickaxe. That way, you can set up a bunch of sluice stations near a Galena or Garnierite vein and get infinite of those resources.

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My surface is covered by copper and Cassiterite, but underground, there is so much Sphalerite, I found my Sphalerite/Limonite vein, the visible one and one other by hitting a wall with the prospector's pick.

Don't have to bring a water source underground, I found water at two different level when digging or exploring the tunnels.

Also, I added pictures to the original post.

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Yeah, sure, finding water is fine too, but in most cases, you can't find water for your sluices in the exact spot you want. Also, and this is more important: sluices require access to the sky, so if you want them near a vein, you have to dig out a tunnel to the surface.

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I use the box technique whenever I search for surface veins, but when I deep mine, I have to use a branch/tunnel technique where I simply dig a HUGE tunnel and run along spamming the pro-pick until I can guesstimate the near center/direction of the desired vein. Although this technique requires a ton of metal tools, it doesn't really bother me since I am swimming in lower level metals at that point. I might use the box method if I have a general idea of where the ore is (and other clusters) and so I could more accurately locate the largest quantity of said ore using that technique.

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Woah, necroposting :D

 

There have been many changes to ore generation and distribution in the latest snapshot b78 so some new techniques could be used and some old ones are still applicable as well. One consideration that springs to mind is the possibility to simply spot ores in the cliffs of mountains. However, from what i read (could be wrong), the largest ore bodies are not in the surface layer. In my brief experience so far, ore bodies can be quite extensive and distributed in density. A few blocks can be mined at the surface but if you follow a pro-pick signal down into the depths the real jackpot lies 50-60 blocks below the surface. 

 

Whilst mining, the level change technique is still the best imo. Follow the pro-pick signals on a horizonal plane to where the signal is strongest in the centre point of all 4 directions, then dig down vertically. If the signal increases, keep going. Stop when the signal decreases and back up at least some 12 blocks. Then again branch out in all 4 directions in the horizontal plane to find the ore body. The ore body will be in one of those directions. In the new snapshot, however, the ore can be concentrated in small clusters which does require some branch mining.

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I use mapwriter to put a marker at the locations where the ore goes from very large to large.  When I have all 4 directions I use markers to join the dots and create a box.  Head to the middle of the box and 90% of the time you will find ore.

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