Engineer’s Toolbox is an incredibly complex mod that revolves around the modular assembly of machines. A more honest name would be ‘Modular Automation,’ but that doesn’t have the same ring to it. It is a stand-alone mod that works well with mods that are compatible with Buildcraft or use RF power. It functions amazingly on its own, however.
The mod is late-game, requiring ender pearls and glowstone to get started. That shouldn’t be terribly hard to get in a modpack, but if you’re playing with it by itself, you won’t be able to use the cool machines until later. Compared to many tech mods, this one seems to be more reasonable. You aren’t whisking items away into a digital void for storage, nor are you getting power from lava…at least, not directly. All of the modular items are practical and something you would expect to see in a modern-day robotic assembly line. The tooltips could definitely use some improvements in some places, but it otherwise does a basic job of introducing the functions of each item. The sheer number of items included make NEI a necessity, and you’ll want to set up your machines in creative before you go crazy with your resources in survival.
So, now that the mod requirements are all out of the way, let’s get started talking about its amazing features. Each module has three different inventories, three different tanks, and three different redstone channels. You can set each channel to accept from more than one source or output in more than one source, or you could set the different sides of the modules to ignore the other channels. This makes it easy to make a compact system for anything you want to make. I do mean anything. There are so many modules that you can use that it barely fit in a double chest plus my inventory. Each one has a very specific function, ranging from item sorting, item processing, fluid movement, redstone gates, and some other fun machines that you don’t see in other mods. My personal favorite to set up was the Lazy Susan—a block that spins the blocks around it in a ring. I imagine that would be amazing for some automated planting, growing, and harvesting setups.
Along with the machines, there are tons of decorative blocks that were added. Most have an industrial feel to them, with an emphasis on defense. It would be very easy to build a post-apocalyptic map or a map based around a prison. Wire fences, colored wood, and alternate dirt colors are available. The mod also has some elements of GasCraft mixed in, allowing you to generate gases for energy or traps. The worldgen includes many of the standard ores in modded Minecraft along with algae, for that gas generation.
Between the overlapping redstone circuits, the easy power generation and fluid movement, and the interesting machines, Engineer’s Toolbox has more uses than could be exhaustively explained here. There are many mods that have it beat in individual categories, such as power generation or item sorting, but the sheer versatility of the mod makes it unique. As long as you can understand how to set up your first machine, you should be able to make new ones with completely different modules and uses. They all follow the same rules. The same cannot be said of other mods.
The whole mod feels more like a modpack. It actually does combine a few mods together into one piece of code. The mods are each expansive on their own, so the barrier of entry to Engineer’s Toolbox is rather high. Don’t let that discourage you from installing it or learning the system. Once you are familiar with the rules of the modules, you can make any kind of crazy machines or maps that you can imagine.