Tutorials/Elevators

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This page lists ideas for elevators.

What is an elevator?[edit]

An elevator, or lift, in Minecraft is a vertical transport system for carrying players, mobs, and items between the floors of a structure. Some simpler designs require the player to walk or swim, while in other more complex designs, the player can be transported hundreds of blocks higher with just the click of a button or the flick of a lever.

See also: Tutorials/Item elevator

Piston Elevator[edit]

There are many designs of piston elevators. They all essentially use pistons to move the players either up or down.

TNT Cannon[edit]

This extremely fast elevator uses gravity and water to compress primed TNT into a small area, creating a powerful explosion force. It is expensive in that TNT is not renewable, and is dangerous on Survival.

TNT Cannon Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q0TSh8_c1no)

Multi-floor elevator[edit]

These elevators have the ability to ascend and descend and can stop and start at desired floors, they can be complicated and require more resources. These elevators often use characteristics of other designs and apply multi-floor circuitry to them.

Up and down[edit]

The up and down elevator has a maximum height of 12 units due to the limited amount of blocks a piston can move. This design is also relatively slow, but thanks to its small form factor and simple redstone circuits this can be suited for buildings.

Fast[edit]

Fast piston elevators are quicker than more traditional ways of gaining height, like ladders and powered minecarts. They are designed to be practical.

Zipper[edit]

Zipper elevators feature pairs of pistons stacked vertically. The stair version can be open on two opposite sides, and is useful for giving views above ground. The no-stair version can only be open on one side. They have one major drawback, as multiplayer can cause a malfunction in the timing and cause the elevator to cease function. Also, adding a 1×2 piston on the top to push you onto a platform once you have reached the top to prevent the player from falling back down can be beneficial.

Spiral[edit]

Spiral elevators feature a vertically stacked spiral of pistons. Since the pistons and wiring surround the player while they ascend, this type is not good for giving a clear view. However, they are more suitable for multiplayer, as they do not transport the player as quickly and so are less likely to trap the player due to lag.

Moderate[edit]

These elevators operate at a moderate and practical speed. They are designed to provide more realistic appearance and operation than most other elevators.

Piston-Worm[edit]

Piston-worm designs use a set of alternating pistons to push the player or a carriage up and down a shaft. Often these designs are very resource friendly and simple to build.

Slow[edit]

These piston elevators are slower than more traditional ways of gaining height, like ladders and powered minecarts. While not practical, they are designed with style in mind.

Single column elevator[edit]

Single column elevators made to reach the top quicker are usually short due to their need for complex redstone wiring methods. It can be simplified by using sand or gravel as a floor and pistons to push sand. However, this elevator is much slower.

Slime Block Elevators[edit]

Slime block elevators come in two main forms, bouncing and conveyor style. These elevators are very fast and range from simple to difficult to build. They use characteristics of the slime block to move the player.

Conveyor[edit]

This design uses a mechanic that moves slime blocks up and down in a conveyor belt fashion moving a platform that the player stands on. You can view the 3D schematic for this elevator here.

Multi-floor[edit]

Using the conveyor method it is possible to create a very fast multi-floor elevator.

Bouncing[edit]

These elevators bounce the player up a series of slime blocks.

Water elevators[edit]

Water is very useful in elevators as they can carry players up and down, and can transport all mobs but undead mobs upwards.

Tube design[edit]

Due to the aquatic update, these elevators are much faster and safer because the player can now swim much faster in water that flows down. It is advised to create multiple of these in a stairway if you want multiple levels as it may be hard to leave the elevator through a midway exit.

Bricks are suitable for making this. You can also use glass to make it really cool!

  1. Build a base 4 blocks wide and 6 blocks tall.
  2. Start to build up to your 2nd Floor.
  3. If you haven't done so, build 3 blocks up from the 2nd Floor. Then, seal the top up.
  4. Smash out a hole on the 1st Floor 3 blocks high and 2 blocks wide. Do the same on the 2nd Floor.
  5. Smash out the ceiling and put water in all the corners or just lava.

Waterfall[edit]

A simple waterfall can be ridden up, or slow a fall to a safe speed. Make a waterfall by placing a source in a one block gap in a floor, or on a ledge in a box that will keep the flow in a single block space on the way down. If possible make a one block hole at the bottom of the waterfall to keep the water from spreading out over the floor. Water pouring out from the landing site will keep mobs back allowing for a safer landing in occupied territory.

As the player is rising, or falling, careful motion should be used to move till one is far enough out of the vertical stream that air is available, one can tell because the breath meter disappears. Then, there is no limit on how far up or down one can go in the water. It is also possible to stay centered in the stream, but move sideways far enough that the breath meter is reset once in a while. This of course needs careful movement control.

Mobs that fall into the stream will ride down safely, but they cannot rise up in one of these.

A temporary waterfall can be used to make a safe ride down from any height. If one places a water source close to, or at, the edge of a long fall the water stream only needs to be left flowing for a few seconds to be safe to ride all the way down. One can use the empty bucket to pick the source back up and then immediately walk off the edge in the stream to be carried over the edge and then ride it safely down. This will also make a safe landing site even in lava, but be aware that as soon as one lands on the obsidian that one has to move counter to the flow or risk being carried to the edge of the stream into the lava.

Java breathable water elevator[edit]

A basic water elevator that works well in survival mode can be made in any vertical shaft that is 2 blocks by one block.

Requires:

The shaft for this design is 2 blocks deep and one wide.

Bottom Up Construction[edit]

Starting at the bottom the entrance to the shaft should be in a wall that is at least one block thick. The entrance should be a 2 block high opening with a door set in the last blocks space before the two deep space for the elevator. The door is to keep the bottom two water sources from leaking out the opening. Now, step into the shaft and place signs in a zigzag up one of the 2 block wide walls as high as you can reach. Then, fill in the gaps between signs with water sources, thus forming a zigzag of water blocks. Reload on water buckets and ride the elevator up as high as you can, place more signs as you bob up and down in the top water block, and then place more sources. Repeat till you reach the top.

Top Down Construction[edit]

Have at least two full water buckets in inventory when you start this procedure.

Stand on the line between the two blocks that will be the top of your elevator shaft. Dig down one block under each foot (note 1). Place a sign on a block on the two-block wide wall in front of you, it does not matter which. Dig down another block depth for both blocks. Place a sign on the same wall as the first, but on the other block, and repeat all this once more so that you have a four block deep shaft with a zigzag of signs on one of the wide walls. Looking up place two water sources beside the first and second signs that you placed. You are now standing in a safe breathing space at the bottom of a working elevator that you can use to return to the top to reload water buckets, get more signs or whatever.

One rises in the elevator by swimming, going down is just falling.

As one rides up or down the breath meter may flash in and out of view unless you are able to stay perfectly in the middle of the alternating water blocks, but no matter as you will never be more than a few ticks from your next "breath".

This kind of elevator is faster than a falling water stream due to the swimming action between water source blocks.

Note 1: the reason you stand between two blocks is that one cannot fall when at least one foot is on a block, meaning when any part of your bounding box is over a solid block. Digging two or three blocks deep on one side, then the other, will allow the intrepid miner to notice that a ceiling has been breached before falling into empty space.

Fast Water Bubble (Soul Sand) Elevator and drop-shaft[edit]

A rapid elevator for any height with no drowning issues, with a fast drop shaft. (1.13+)

Requires:

  • 1 block of Soul Sand
  • Bucket(s) and water source

Construction[edit]

Dig down (or construct upward) a single-block column to the desired depth or height surrounded by the solid block of your choice. Dig a block out at the bottom of the column and place a soul sand block as the 'floor'. To make an entrance, replace the bottom two blocks of two adjacent sides with fence or glass panes creating a diagonal walk-in entrance. Fill up as many buckets as you can with water, and starting with the bottom space above the soul sand, place a source water block at each level (bubbles won't flow past a gap) until your column is full to the top. Once completed, simply step in the diagonal entrance into the (breathable) water column and you will shoot to the top.

Note: to complete purely in survival mode, don't place the soul sand until after you've filled the column with water blocks, since you can't swim down through a bubble column. Be careful not to drown!

Drop-shaft[edit]

Dig or construct another 1-block column close to your elevator. Make your entrance two blocks high, a place a sign at the two-block level (eye-level) below the column. Place a water source block two blocks up from that, creating a two-block flowing water column. You can now drop down from the top of the column, and the water will slow you to drop safely past the sign to floor level.

Combining the drop shaft with a bubble elevator can be done with them touching at the corners of the shafts for a 2x2 block square vertical up/down shaft for deep mining. Looking at the 2x2 block from a diagonal, put the drop shaft at the 'front', glass or fence at the two side blocks two blocks high, then the bubble shaft at the 'back'. You can fall through the drop shaft, walk out, then walk through the drop shaft into the bubble column to go back up.

Breathable water elevator[edit]

A expensive water elevator that works well in survival mode.

Requires:

This elevator is basically a regular tube elevator attached to conduits.

Construction[edit]

Build your conduit activation frame in a box of water right next to your tube elevator. Depending on the size and number of tubes, multiple frames may be needed. Add to your conduit or add more conduit frames until you can breath in your entire elevator.


One rises in water elevators by swimming, going down by falling will likely drown you in a normal elevator and burn time in a breathable one.

It is dangerous to move between multiple normal elevators without letting your breath meter replenish out of the water. However, conduit elevators can't be built with the current versions of Minecraft.

Alternate java water elevator[edit]

A water-sign elevator can also be made in a one block shaft, which will be cheaper if making it as a freestanding column. The construction notes are written for survival mode.

Requires:

  • Signs
  • Bucket(s) of water
  • Infinite water source
  • construction block of your choice

Enclose a 1×1 vertical shaft with your construction blocks on all four sides, corners are not needed.

Top Down Construction[edit]

This method is the more useful when building a freestanding elevator up from a floor. One can tower up from the floor, placing blocks on all four sides at each jump on the way up. Then start placing signs and water all the way back down.

Start by placing your safety net on the ground - make a one block hole and fill it with a water source. When you fall from high up in the shaft, and you likely will, a single block of water is enough to break your fall so you take no damage.

Once you are at the intended top of your elevator place signs two and four blocks below your feet. You won't be able to reach down 6 blocks so now you can start with the water sources. Put one on top of each sign, then ready your signs, more full buckets, and jump in. Use the swimming action to stay in the bottom most water block and place signs further down the shaft, then place another water bucket above this last sign (depending on the size, you may have to keep returning to the top to reload your buckets and repeat until you get down to the bottom).

The last sign can most easily be placed from the opening of the elevator at the bottom on the second block up from the floor. This will hold the "entry" water block above the opening in the first block of the shaft proper. It does not matter if you have two water blocks at the bottom of the shaft as players and mobs will rise through them fast enough that breathing will not be a problem.

Bottom Up Construction[edit]

At the bottom leave a two block high opening (from the floor) for the entrance. Start placing signs on the opposite wall of the shaft starting with the second block from the ground. Above it place a water source, then jump up into the water and swim up. Place signs and water sources alternating until you reach the top. You will be bobbing up and down due to the swimming action you needs to use to keep on top of the uppermost water block, but some practice will make it easy to work this way.

If you need to have a opening taller than 2 blocks place ladders up the back wall of the shaft to the highest block of the opening. The bottom-most water block will then sit on top of the ladder.

Using glass blocks to encase your water elevator gives it a cool look, and is useful for monitoring a mob mover.

Boat Elevators[edit]

The above design works in 1.12+, for earlier versions see below.

This boat launcher / elevator tutorial demonstrates the ability to connect two different bodies of water. This design works automatically; simply ride a boat into the contraption to be launched upwards to a max height of 11 blocks. Being simple and compact, this build is similar in concept to real world water locks used across the world (i.e. the Panama Canal).

The main component of this build is a slime block launcher triggered by a tripwire hook that launches the boat and its rider directly upward to another body of water. Different from other boat elevators, this design uses redstone to launch a boat from one water source into another at a higher elevation, giving the rider a quick and easy form of transportation.

Videos[edit]

Boat design[edit]

Minecart Elevators[edit]

Simple Minecart Elevator[edit]

Like the name says, this elevator mostly depends on your ability to collect iron ingots and create minecarts, as well as making trapdoors.

To create the elevator, all you need is a 1×1 shaft, down (or up) to the place where you want to go. Once the shaft is finished, you will need to divide the number of blocks by either four if you are in singleplayer, or five if you are in multiplayer. This is to figure out how many minecarts and trapdoors you will need.

After you have all the needed blocks, continue onto the next set of instructions.

  1. Fill up the shaft all the way to the top by towering. Make sure that there is room for you to get out of the elevator after the ride is over!
  2. Slowly go down, placing open trapdoors on the wall, and placing minecarts on top of those. Important! Make sure the minecarts are close enough so you can transfer to the one above you without moving!
  3. When you reach the bottom of your shaft, put a ladder underneath the last minecart, and you're done!
  4. OPTIONAL: Instead of putting a ladder underneath the last minecart, place water at the bottom.

To operate, just stand underneath the bottom minecart, look up, and hold the Right Mouse Button. If you did it right, you should go straight up to the top. To descend a minecart elevator, just walk over it; you should fall through the minecarts to the bottom, and the ladder or water will break your fall.


Variations

For other purposes, pigs with saddles also work as an elevator.

Boat In a Minecart Elevator[edit]

The following paragraph demonstrates the use of a bug and/or glitch to make a contraption.
Bugs of this nature may be fixed at any time without warning: when this happens, the contraption will cease to work.
Use at your own risk.

This elevator works on a recently discovered bug that allows for a minecart to pick up, and be occupied by a boat. Players and certain mobs can also occupy the boat and thus be transported by the minecart.

The design allows for a boat (occupied or empty) to be carried along a rail system. Due to the way tracks function, one can essentially move a boat in the same manner allowing for more flexibility in transportation. Because of the way entities work, a boat in a minecart have infinite momentum. An example would be when two different bodies of water are at different elevations. The design from the above video can transport the player and their boat between the two bodies of water without exiting the boat, creating a type of elevator.

Elytra Launchers[edit]

Elytra launchers do not resemble any real-life elevator, but can transport the player hundred of blocks in the air instantly. They are an end-game method of transportation, since you need an elytra to use one. To use one the player equips the elytra, and jumps into the elytra launcher. The player must press space on the way down. The player hits a large amount of boats, which all push the player, causing him/her to travel very high up.

Command block elevators[edit]

Note: These elevators use command blocks which cannot be obtained legitimately in Survival mode. These elevators are intended for server ops and adventure map builds.

Beside from the minecart elevator, command block elevators can be made with some special effects, and are the quickest of all the elevators. The principle is that you can hit a button wired up to a command block with the /tp @p x y z command. (Alternatively, you can replace @p with your username, creating a player-specific elevator.) The most basic design is to have the command block behind the button. To get a little more complex, you will need a bit more room, or use repeaters. The basic objective is to have a command block with the /tell @p Going to [floor name] command, then a few moments later, having a command block with the previously mentioned /tp command to do the main part of going to a floor. Note that if you are using this with a high-rise building, you may need to create more than one elevator cab for serving more than a few floors, since this type of elevator may get a little large, trying to serve 35 floors in one cab.

Another technique is to have two command blocks per floor, one sending the user one floor up, the other sending them one floor down. Align all the x and z coordinates, so that the player stays on one spot relative to the two columns, and can simply click repeatedly to ascend or descend multiple floors.

Scaffolding[edit]

In recent snapshot 18w45a and Bedrock Edition beta 1.8.0.8, a new scaffolding block was added. This block can be used to make space efficient elevators you can move up and down on. Placing doors around a tower of scaffolding can make it look like a real-world elevator. Use the sneak key to go down and jump to go up.

Using mods[edit]

If you're willing to use mods, then there are some that make building elevators easy, such as OpenBlocks, which requires an elevator block to be placed on every floor that you want the elevator to go to. Use the sneak key to go down and jump to go up.