Piston

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Piston
Piston.gif
Sticky Piston.gif
Transparent

No

Luminance

0

Blast resistance

2.5

Tool

Any tool

Renewable

Yes

Stackable

Yes (64)

Flammable

Unspecified

Catches fire from lava

Probably not

Drops

Itself

Data values

§ Data values

Duncan Geere Mojang avatar.png

Pistons push blocks, up to twelve of them in a row, when given a redstone signal. Flip the power on and the piston's head will extend outwards one block for a fraction of a second. Any entities in the path of the head will be pushed along with it, including the player, and if there's a slime block in front of the head then they'll be sproinged off instead. SPROINGGG!

Duncan Geere[1]

A piston is a block capable of pushing movable blocks when given a redstone pulse.
A sticky piston has the same function as a piston, however it also pulls the block on its face back when its redstone signal is turned off, unlike the piston which leaves it where it was pushed.

Obtaining[edit]

A piston can be broken using any tool with equal efficiency, and always drops itself.

Block Piston
Hardness 0.5
Breaking time
Hand 0.75

Natural generation[edit]

Three or four sticky pistons generate as part of each jungle temple.

Crafting[edit]

Name Ingredients Crafting recipe
Piston Any Planks +
Cobblestone +
Iron Ingot +
Redstone Dust

Sticky Piston Slimeball +
Piston


Usage[edit]

Pistons are always placed facing towards the player. When powered, the piston's wooden surface (the "head") starts extending within 2 game ticks, or 1 redstone tick (0.1 seconds), and pushes at most 12 blocks. The piston makes a sound that can be heard within a 31×31×31 cube centered on the activating piston. Any entities in the path of the extending head are pushed with the blocks. If there is no place for the entities to go, the block pushes inside them, suffocating mobs if the block is not transparent when pushed into the eye height of the mob.

When a piston loses power, its head retracts. This retraction starts immediately, but lasts for 2 game ticks or 1 redstone ticks (0.1 seconds). A sticky piston also pulls the block attached to its head.

Sticky pistons stick to a block only when retracting, so a block next to the piston head can be pushed aside by another piston and sticky pistons cannot hold falling blocks horizontally against gravity. They also don't pull blocks after starting to push them. This can be done by giving the piston a short pulse, specifically shorter than 3 gameticks, or 1.5 redstone ticks (0.15 seconds, barring lag).‌[Java Edition only]

A piston that pushes a slime block bounces any entity that it displaces in the direction the piston is facing. In addition, when a slime block is moved by a piston, any movable blocks adjacent (not diagonally) to the slime block also moves. See the "usage" section below for more details.

Blocks that stick to walls (such as levers) can be placed on pistons or sticky pistons.‌[Bedrock Edition only]

Limitations[edit]

Pistons can push most blocks, and sticky pistons can pull most blocks, except those listed in the table below. Sticky pistons simply leave a block behind if it cannot pull it.

Pistons cannot push blocks into the void or beyond the top of the map. They also cannot push more than 12 blocks. In these situations, the piston simply does not extend.

Blocks that cannot be pushed or pulled
Block Effect (Java Edition) Effect (Bedrock Edition) Effect (Legacy Console Edition)
Cannot be pushed or pulled.
Rail Can be pushed or pulled.
Can be pushed, but not pulled.
Cannot be pushed or pulled. Can be pushed or pulled. Can be pushed or pulled.
Can be pushed, but not pulled.
Can be pushed or pulled, but separates the two chests. Cannot be pushed or pulled.
Breaks when pushed or pulled, turning to drops
Breaks when pushed, turning to drops when applicable. Cannot be pulled.
Breaks when pushed or pulled, turning to drops.
Anvil Cannot be pushed or pulled. Can be pushed or pulled as normal, but falls rather than remaining attached to sticky pistons.
Can be pushed or pulled as normal, but falls rather than remaining attached to sticky pistons.

Pistons do not move blocks that are "attached to a block", as they detach and drop as an item.

Exceptions[edit]
  • Rails: as long as they remain on top of a solid block in their new position, and that block isn't moving at the same time.
    • An exception is when the rail and block supporting it are on two parallel extended pistons at which the rail remains attached. Trying to move both on the same piston using slime blocks does not work, nor does moving them on perpendicular pistons (although the latter temporarily appears to work because of a bug MC-75716).
    • Rails re-orient themselves after being pushed, similar to when placed manually.
  • Carpets

Powering pistons[edit]

Pistons powered by one line of redstone.

Pistons can be powered in various ways:

  • If a redstone wire is in a line shape towards the piston, as the wire does not automatically curve to the piston.‌[Java and Legacy Console editions only]
  • Pistons can be powered by a powered block directly adjacent to them, whether it is strongly powered or weakly powered.
  • Pistons can be powered by a redstone torch directly adjacent to them.
  • Pistons can be powered by any powered block one block above and to the side, including the "activated space" above it (if a piston, both sticky and normal were to be facing up and a block of redstone placed on its head, it extends when powered, but doesn't retract when the power it receives from the side or back turns off). However, the piston won't extend or retract until it receives a block update. This property is called quasi-connectivity and can be used to make a BUD switch.
  • A repeater cannot transfer power through a piston, as pistons are a transparent block.
  • An upwards-facing piston can't be powered by a block above it, unless it is extended.

Slime blocks[edit]

A
B
Piston A may extend because the slime block ignores the adjacent obsidian. Piston B may not extend because the diamond block is prevented from moving by the obsidian and so the slime block also refuses to move.

When a slime block is pushed or pulled by a piston, while moving, adjacent blocks also move with the slime block, unless a non-piston movable block stops the blocks that are "grabbed" by the slime blocks. These blocks may in turn push other blocks, not just the blocks in the line in front of the piston. For example, a slime block sitting on the ground attempts to move the ground block underneath itself, which in turn has to push additional ground blocks in the direction of motion just as if it were being pushed directly by a piston.

Glazed terracotta is an exception; it does not move when adjacent slime blocks are moved.

The same occurs when a slime block is moved by an adjacent Slime Block. For example, a 2×2×2 cube of Slime Blocks may be pushed or pulled as a unit by a single piston acting on any of the blocks in the cube.

A slime block adjacent to a block that cannot be moved by pistons ignores the immobile block. But if an adjacent block could be moved but is prevented by the presence of an immobile block, the slime block is prevented from moving.

Slime blocks are not pulled by a non-sticky piston, nor are they moved if an adjacent (non-Slime) block is moved by a piston.

The maximum of 12 blocks moved by a piston still applies. For example, a 2×2×3 collection of Slime Blocks may be pushed or pulled by a sticky piston as long as no other movable blocks are adjacent to it.

A piston cannot move itself via a "hook" constructed of slime blocks, but self-propelled contraptions can be created with multiple pistons. For that, see the article Tutorials/Flying technologies.

Technical components[edit]

Piston Head[edit]

Piston Head
Piston Head.pngPiston Head BE.png
Sticky Piston Head.pngSticky Piston Head BE.png
Type

Technical, Solid

Physics

No

Transparency

Yes

Luminance

0

Blast resistance

2.5

Tool

Any tool

Drops

None

Data values

See § Data values

Name

See § Data values

The piston head is a technical block used as the second block of an extended piston. A block state defines whether it is a normal or a sticky piston head. It can be placed using the /setblock command or with the debug stick, though if not part of a proper piston, it disappears after receiving any block tick, such as when a block is placed next to it unless the player uses the debug stick.

Block states[edit]

Java Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
facingnorthdown
east
north
south
up
west
The direction the piston head is pointing.
shortfalsefalse
true
If true, the piston arm is shorter than usual, by 4 pixels.
typenormalnormal
sticky
The type of piston head.

Moving Piston[edit]

Moving Piston
Type

Technical

Physics

No

Transparency

Yes

Luminance

0

Blast resistance

0

Tool

None

Block Entity ID

piston

Data values

See § Data values

Name

See § Data values

The moving piston is an unobtainable technical block that contains part of a piston head, and/or part of one or two blocks that the piston is carrying into or out of the grid cell (including blocks carried indirectly via slime blocks). Since moving blocks vary in how much of each grid cell they occupy, they can't be stored as normal blocks and are instead stored as block entities. It is overwritten with air, the piston head or the carried block at the end of the piston stroke; but if it is placed by a command and no piston is connected, it remains indefinitely.

It is invisible, non-solid, and cannot be broken without the use of commands or TNT. Although it is non-solid, fluids cannot pass through it. It also prevents players from building at its location. Mobs can see through it, but cannot walk through it. The game treats the block as a stone block when it comes to the player's footstep sounds, and as a missing texture block when it comes to the breaking animation.

Block states[edit]

Java Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
facingnorthdown
east
north
south
up
west
The direction the block is being pushed by the piston.
typenormalnormal
sticky
What piston base this has.

Block entity[edit]

The moving piston has a block entity associated with it that holds additional data about the block.

  • Block entity data
    • Tags common to all block entities see Template:Nbt inherit/blockentity/template
    •  blockState: The moving block represented by this block entity.
      •  Name: The namespaced ID of the block.
      •  Properties: Optional. The block states of the block.
        •  Name: The block state name and its value.
    •  facing: Direction in which the block will be pushed. (0=down, 1=up, 2=north, 3=south, 4=west, 5=east)
    •  progress: How far the block has been moved.
    •  extending: 1 or 0 (true/false) – true if the block is being pushed.
    •  source: 1 or 0 (true/false) – true if the block represents the piston head itself, false if it represents a block being pushed.

Data values[edit]

ID[edit]

Java Edition:

Block Namespaced ID
Piston piston
Sticky Piston sticky_piston
Piston Head piston_head
Moving Piston moving_piston
Block entity piston

Bedrock Edition:

Block Namespaced ID Numeric ID
Piston piston 33
Sticky Piston sticky_piston 29
Piston Head pistonarmcollision 34
Moving Block movingblock 250

Block data[edit]

In Bedrock Edition, pistons use the following data values:

Bits Values
0x0 facing down
0x1 facing up
0x2 facing north
0x3 facing south
0x4 facing west
0x5 facing east
0x6, 0x7 6-sided piston
0x8 (bit flag) When 1, the piston is extended.

Block states[edit]

The piston and sticky_piston blocks use following block states:

Java Edition:

Name Default value Allowed values Description
extendedfalsefalse
true
If true, the piston is extended.
facingnorthdown
east
north
south
up
west
The direction the piston head is pointing.
The opposite from the direction the player faces while placing the piston.

Achievements[edit]

Icon Achievement In-game description Actual requirements (if different) Availability Xbox points earned Trophy type (PS)
Xbox PS Bedrock Nintendo
InceptionPush a piston with a piston, then pull the original piston with that piston.NoNoYesNew 3DS20G

Video[edit]

History[edit]

Java Edition Classic
May 21, 2009Notch shows interest in adding blocks that can pull and push other blocks when a pulse from a wire is received; he called them "Pulley1", which would pull a block up, and "Pulley2", which would push a block up.
Java Edition Beta
June 7, 2011Jeb tweets an image of pistons in development.
Piston (pre-release).png The piston texture as screen-captured while in development had iron bands running over the head. The bands were removed for the release, leaving only iron brackets around the corners and edges.
1.7Piston Revision 2.pngSticky Piston Revision 2.pngAdded pistons. Sticky pistons were also assumedly added within this update.
The original piston was a mod posted on the Minecraft Forums by Hippoplatimus.[2] The code for that version was given to Jeb, who then worked on implementing pistons into vanilla Minecraft.
  • Hippoplatimus is in the game's credits under "Additional Programming", like other modders whose work made it into vanilla Minecraft.
Another user, DiEvAl, privately submitted code as well, including the idea of Tile Entities to track moving blocks.[3]
However, due to Jeb's work on the Pocket Edition, pistons were delayed, and were not released for the Beta 1.5 update nor for the Beta 1.6 update. Finally, when the Pocket Edition was good enough to show at E3, Jeb went back to work on the Java edition of Minecraft and pistons were finally added in version Beta 1.7, including Sticky Pistons.
Hexahedral Piston.pngHexahedral Sticky Piston.png Two blocks with the piston face texture on all sides exist.
1.7_01Sticky pistons do not stick when they aren't retracting.
1.7.3It is now impossible to place a jack o'lantern onto a sticky piston.
Java Edition
1.3.112w22aSticky pistons generate naturally inside jungle temples. In the temples the pistons are used to form a puzzle mechanism.
Inventory sprites for blocks were flipped from left to right, changing to .
12w27aUpdated Pistons to make them less error-prone, thus they also appear to update slower. This also altered the way Pistons work, so you might have to adapt your repeater delays and similar. For this change, pistons now take 2 redstone ticks (4 game ticks) to extend, but they still retract instantly.
1.7.213w37aThe item forms of block 34 (Piston Head) and block 36 (Piston Extension) are removed from the game. They can no longer exist in inventories, only as blocks in the world.
1.814w17aWhen all blocks were converted to use block states, block/data-value combinations 33/6, 33/7, 29/6 and 29/7 (6-sided pistons) were removed.
14w18aSlime blocks now push and pull blocks adjacent when connected to sticky pistons.
Extending a piston with a slime block on top of it launches the entity (mobs, players, items, launched arrows etc) into the air.
14w19aSlime blocks can now push entities sideways and downwards when attached to a piston.
14w32aThe piston extension block no longer has a hitbox.
1.915w49aUnextended pistons, downwards-facing pistons, and upwards-facing piston extensions are now considered to have a solid top surface, like upside-down stairs and top-half slabs. There also existed a bug where when a piston retracted, it would pull entities through them.
1.11.116w50aAdded a new byte tag source for the piston_extension block entity, which is true if the block represents the piston head itself, and false if it represents a block being pushed. Pistons moving entities to the other side was fixed.
1.1217w16aSticky pistons do not pull glazed terracotta, and when pistons move slime blocks, they do not move glazed terracotta attached to the side of the slime block.
pre3Slime blocks can no longer pull glazed terracotta attached to any side whatsoever.
1.1317w47aThe moving block ID has been changed from piston_extension to moving_piston.
Prior to The Flattening, these blocks' numeral IDs were 29, 33, 34 and 36.
Pistons now can push Noteblocks.
pre6Sticky pistons now pull glazed terracotta again.
pre8Sticky pistons now no longer pull glazed terracotta.
1.1418w43aPiston.pngSticky Piston.pngChanged the texture of Pistons.
18w44aPistons are no longer transparent.
Pocket Edition Alpha
0.15.0build 1Added pistons and sticky pistons with a version exclusive animation and the ability to push block entities.
Legacy Console Edition
TU3CU11.0Patch 1Patch s1Added pistons and sticky pistons.
TU141.04Pistons now take double the amount of time (2 redstone ticks or 4 game ticks) to extend, but they still retract instantly.
New Nintendo 3DS Edition
0.1.0Added Pistons and sticky pistons.

Issues[edit]

Issues relating to "Piston" are maintained on the bug tracker. Report issues there.

Trivia[edit]

  • When toggled between on and off rapidly with a gravity affected block (such as sand) above it, a piston can eventually break the block, which can be picked up as a resource. However, gravel broken this way never drops flint.
  • Mobs can spawn inside the piston head block.
  • Carpet can be placed on the piston extension block, and remains even if is replaced with a solid block using /setblock.
  • The piston head is invisible and non-solid when placed in Bedrock Edition with commands.
  • The piston extension cannot be placed by block placement commands, and immediately disappears in Bedrock Edition.

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. In the Java and Legacy Console editions, item frames are technically entities, not blocks. In the Bedrock edition, they are blocks
  2. Paintings are technically entities, not blocks.

References[edit]