I am growing a little tired of repeating the same few points over and over again when somebody new asks for directions. So I'll compile the most useful information here and only link to it from now. Yes, I'm a lazy person. :-p
1. Welcome to Tekkit!
Dear new player, welcome anew to Minecraft. You probably played default Minecraft before, which we call "vanilla" here, and the core concepts are of course still there even when piling 110 mods on top. But there are so many new things, so many changes, that you should consider it basically a new game. Different. Advanced. Harder. More rewarding. Taking much longer to explore, too. Most mods expand on the concepts of the core game, some introduce whole new concepts, like an energy system to power machines, and pipes to transport items and fluids. It can be a bit overwhelming when you are confronted with all that complexity, so I'll describe the first recommended steps here, up to the point where you should be able to strike out on your own, with your own ideas and agenda.
However, don't expect to be spoonfed. I will name the machines and items, but you will have to look up stuff for yourself.
2. But how to look up stuff?
There is the wiki. But it usually lags behind the state of affairs and is mostly useful to get an idea of a particular mod you're investigating, not for looking up every little recipe. The actual, everyday lookup tool is called Not Enough Items (NEI). This is the opulent overlay you probably noticed when you opened your inventory. NEI is as much an encyclopedia as it is a cheating tool (if you have admin/operator rights or are in singleplayer). Mostly, it is a complete list of all blocks and items in game, and you can actually give yourself those items by clicking on them (left click gives a stack, right click just one). But don't kill your fun by cheating. We just use it to look up stuff, which can be done by browsing, but also by using the search box to filter the list. Hover over an item and press R to be shown the crafting recipe of any item that has one. You may notice that your inventory will be sorted everytime you do this. Unfortunately, the default sort key is also R, so you may want to reassign that one.
I try to always write the names of ingame blocks with a capital letter, so you know that this is a name you can look up.
3. Ok, what to do first?
Much the same you do in vanilla Minecraft. Punch wood, make a Wooden Pickaxe, get cobblestone, make a Stone Pickaxe, dig a shelter. Find coal, build a Furnace, make torches. Get some more wood. Dig down for resources, either with a ladder shaft or a stair shaft. And so on. The beginning of the game is just like vanilla.
But you will notice quickly that there is more. Copper and Tin ores will turn up when you dig, so will Silver and Lead ore a little further down. At first, just gather everything you can and stuff it into chests. If you don't find much coal, chop down some trees and make charcoal. You will need a bit of the following to get seriously started:
Coal/Charcoal (either is fine)
2 pieces of Flint
Half a stack of each is recommended, although you can get away with a little less in case of Silver and Gold.
4. I get to make machines now, right?
Yes, you do. But machines are no use without power. The first mod you seriously use will be Thermal Expansion. This is a core mod, as it provides the primary power system Redstone Flux (RF), most basic machines and also transport pipes. You will build a Bucket, a Steam Dynamo, a Leadstone Energy Cell, a few Leadstone Energy Conduits, a Pulverizer and a Strongbox. Look up the recipes in NEI, and try to smelt only as much ingots as you need, not more.
Make sure you have some well-lighted free space in your shelter. Make a 2x2 water pool somewhere in reach. Set down the Pulverizer a few blocks away from it and put a Steam Dynamo right next to that. For the very first run, the Dynamo will power the machine directly, but we will add a proper battery shortly. Take the bucket, fill it with water and right-click with it on the Dynamo. Do this four times. It needs both water and fuel to run, and you just filled its internal water tank. Now put some coal or charcoal in. The Dynamo will light up and start producing steam, and then power. If you set it right, the power will slowly fill the Pulverizer's energy bar, which can be checked in the machine's interface.
Now that you got a working Pulverizer, stick some ores in. It will create dusts, which can be smelted into ingots. Why the hassle? Because this will effectively double your ore yield, and also get you bonus dusts occasionally. For example, pulverizing a stack of Copper Ore will get you a little Gold for free, and Tin Ore a little Iron. You definitely want that.
You need to replenish the water in the Dynamo after a while, and also the fuel. Don't go crazy pulverizing yet, just make what you require for the next few steps. A few more Iron, Copper, Tin and Gold Ingots, mostly.
5. Can I store energy, too?
Certainly. We want a battery to store and buffer that power. You will notice in the recipe that the Leadstone Energy Cell needs a Redstone Conductance Coil to make, which is different from the Transmission Coil that went into the Dynamo, and the Reception Coil that went into the Pulverizer. But once you understood these three types, you mastered all the coils and machine categories.
Redstone Reception Coil = requires Gold Ingots, goes into machines that use power
Redstone Transmission Coil = requires Silver Ingots, goes into machines that produce power
Redstone Conductance Coil = requires Electrum Ingots, goes into Energy Cells
Electrum? Yes, you already have it. Just take Silver and Gold dusts and mix them on a crafting grid. Congratulations, you created your first compound metal! Smelt the dusts to make the actual Ingots.
Craft the Leadstone Energy Cell now. This is a good time to craft yourself a Crescent Hammer, which will be your best friend for now. It is just a wrench with a funny name, and you can right-click with it to turn machines, toggle through all kinds of modes on different items, and also sneak-right-click (sneak is shift-key by default) to cleanly break the machines, conduits, or just about anything in Thermal Expansion. Use it to break either the Dynamo or the Pulverizer when they are not running, and place the Cell in between. You should also make some Leadstone Energy Conduits (a fancy name for power cables), which will enable you to power machines over some distance. Try running the cable from the Cell, and attach the Pulverizer to the cable. It could look like this:
Now have a look if the Cell is set up right. All Thermal Expansion machines have simple colour-coded interfaces that can be toggled through all states for each side independently. The six sides you see in the config are the six sides of the machine cube, so any side can be set to any function. Bottom right is the backside. An Energy Cell can be set to input (blue), output (orange) or ignore (pale yellow) for each side independently. You can actually see this on the outside of the block if you look closely, but you need to use the interface to change settings. Make sure that the side facing the Dynamo is set to blue, and the other one to orange. With the Dynamo on the left and the machine on the right, it may look like this:
You don't need to set all sides to ignore that you're not using, it's just something I do.
Try placing a Strongbox next to the Pulverizer, and look at the Pulverizer's interface. It also has six configurable sides, but a little more colours (not coloured corners here, but squares). That is because you can later choose to route the default dusts and the bonus dusts different ways. Blue is input again, orange is all-output, yellow and red are (optional) separate outputs. For now, just set the side adjacent to the Strongbox to orange, which will cause all products to be dropped into the Strongbox. In case your Strongbox is on the right side of the machine, it looks like so:
In case you want to move your stuff, keep in mind that the power already stored inside machines will be lost, but Energy Cells will retain their charge if you sneak-wrench them properly. So will Strongboxes. Yes, you can pick them up while full, carry them around and place them down again as much as you like.
For completeness sake: There is also a block called Grindstone available from the Applied Energistics mod. This is basically a low-tech Pulverizer that needs no power, but you will have to build a crank, stick it in and manually operate it. Yep, sitting on that grindstone like a monkey while you turn and turn... not really the Tekkit way, but it will work in a pinch.
6. Bucketing that water is tedious...
Then make an Aqueous Accumulator, and some Opaque Fluiducts. The ducts are also available in a transparent version later, but you can't craft them yet. Place the Accumulator down in the water pool. For the best results, enlarge the pool to 3x3 and place the machine just in the middle. Then connect the Accumulator's top side to the Dynamo with Fluiducts. The Accumulator is an automated water pump, it requires no energy, and will provide water forever, as long as it is immersed in water source blocks. No more bucketing!
In case you're short on sand to smelt into glass, place some Cobblestone in the Pulverizer and be amazed.
7. Can I make a machine for smelting, too?
Definitely! Until now, you had to keep using the vanilla Furnace to turn dusts into ingots, but it is now time to make a Redstone Furnace. You will need eight pieces of Clay for it, so look around in shallow water around your shelter. You need the Clay to make the two Bricks for the recipe. If you are short on metals, go and mine some more.
Connect the Redstone Furnace to the Energy Conduits as well, and smelt everything in there now. Except ores, of course, as you will only get the double output when going through the Pulverizer. It is possible to set the machines back-to-back, so Pulverizer output will drop in the Furnace to get smelted immediately.
With this setup, you will be able to fill your chests with processed resources. Try to stash a bit of everything, but what you will be needing next is Ferrous Metal, to proceed to the next tech level.
8. Tech Level?
Thermal Expansion has several tiers, or levels, of efficiency. The Leadstone stuff you made so far is the lowest grade. The Dynamo and Cell will store and output just enough RF for two machines. You could add another Dynamo, but the Cell will not be able to take the power from two of them at the same time, and cannot pass it on, either. So it's time for Invar.
Ferrous Ore is a rare and precious ore found down on Redstone level. But Pulverized Ferrous also gets produced occasionally as a byproduct when pulverizing Iron Ore. Once you got about ten of those dusts, use them to make your second compound metal: Invar Blend. If you accidentally smelted the Ferrous to ingots already, don't panic. You can turn any ingot back into dust with the Pulverizer.
Two iron dusts and one ferrous make three Invar Blend, which is required for just about everything on the second tech level (you need to smelt the blend to get the actual ingots). Use your first Invar Ingots to re-craft your Leadstone Energy Cell to a Hardened Energey Cell. Do the same for the Conduits. You can also upgrade your Strongbox to a larger version. And the best thing is, all of this can be done with filled items. You won't lose any energy from the Cell, or contents from the Strongbox. Just re-craft them with Invar, and enjoy the upgrades.
A Hardened Energy Cell can take power from up to five Dynamos at once, so go ahead and make some more. In case you are wondering what the other three kinds of Dynamos do, they also produce power, just from different fuels. Compression Dynamos are for liquid fuels (oil, fuel, biofuel), Magmatic are for lava (and are the only kind that runs without water), while Reactant are a weird and rarely used variant that uses other agents than water. Stick with Steam for the start.
You can use Conduits to attach all Dynamos at once to the same input side of your Cell, or put them on different sides, just as you like. Remember that you have to configure the Cell sides, and that each Dynamo requires both water and fuel to run. You may want to make another Pulverizer and Furnace to increase your processing capacity, but you also have the means to expand your factory now.
9. More machines?
More machines. A Sawmill can be nice to have, as it will increase the plank yield from wood blocks, and also produce Sawdust, which can be crafted into pellets and smelted into more charcoal afterwards. But the machine you really want is an Induction Smelter.
This one is an advanced Furnace with advanced recipes. By the way, you can check the full recipe list of a machine by left-clicking on the progress arrow in its interface. That way, you will learn that the Induction Smelter can produce Tinker's Alloy (a.k.a Bronze) from Copper and Tin, and more importantly, Hardened Glass from Pulverized Lead and Pulverized Obsidian. Which is the next tech level. Once you are able to produce Obsidian, you will be able to make Hardened Glass, and proceed to the next level. The Induction Smelter can also double the ore yield by smelting them with sand, but it will not grant bonus materials like the Pulverizer method does. What it does is create Slag and Rich Slag, which is an advanced thing that I won't cover here.
10. Obsidian... that means I need diamonds, right?
This is the standard way. Craft a Diamond Pickaxe, tediously mine Obsidian, then mine some more Obsidian. Fortunately, you can also build yourself an Obsidian Generator and bypass some of the grinding.
There are two ways to do this, the efficient/elegant one and the standard one. The elegant one involves Block Breakers, at least one bucket of Gelid Cryotheum and that you know what you're doing. As a beginner, go for the standard way now. Build an Igneous Extruder and set it to Obsidian (it can also produce Cobblestone and smooth stone). It requires no energy, but you will have to supply water and lava to it. Right now, you will need to fetch the lava in buckets still, but you can make this easier with the cheap and useful Portable Tanks. They hold 8 buckets of whatever liquid you put in there, can be placed and wrenched just like Strongboxes and will simplify your lava gathering a lot - just empty your lava buckets into them until full. Upgrade them to Hardened level with Invar to double their capacity from eight to 16 buckets each. Go ahead and fetch 14 buckets of lava with your new toys.
Once you got that, either bucket the lava into the Extruder, or simply plonk the Portable Tank on top of the machine, make sure that the top side is configured blue (input), and right-click the Tank with a wrench. This will set it output mode, and it will drain its contents nicely if a compatible liquid inventory, like the Extruder, is attached. Don't worry about modes too much - Portable Tanks will always be in input mode when you place them down again, unless you place them directly on top of another Portable Tank (in which case they effectively become a single, larger tank if the same liquid is inside both, or either one is empty; until you wrench them again).
Your 14 buckets of lava, along with 14 buckets of water (from the Accumulator if you're lazy) should get you the 14 pieces of Obsidian you need.
11. Why 14?
Because we're going to the Nether next, and 14 pieces of Obsidian make a 4x5 Nether Portal. If you have no style and leave the corners open, you could go with just 10. In case you forgot, a Nether Portal is an Obsidian frame enclosing a 2x3 vertical empty space that is ignited with Flint And Steel once completed. While newer Minecraft versions allow for other sizes, we are still on 1.6.4 and you need to craft this exact size.
Why we are doing this now? There is one very crucial machine we want to have soon, which is the Magma Crucible. You need Nether Bricks to craft it, and there is no easy way in the Overworld to obtain those. But don't panic. You don't have to look for a Nether Fortress. Just make your way to the red place, and get exactly eight pieces of Netherrack. That's right, just Netherrack. Then turn around and go home. Don't touch the Nether Ores yet, shiny as they might look. The Zombie Pigmen would make short work of you at this stage.
Netherrack smelts to Nether Bricks, four of which combine to placeable Nether Bricks, the very thing we need for that machine.
12. And what is that Crucible for?
Melting stuff and turning it into liquids. You can put stone or Obsidian in there and turn it into Lava, but it is more commonly used to turn Redstone into Destabilized Redstone, which is crucial for the next tech level. It can also make Gelid Cryotheum, a very useful substance that can be used to make an Obsidian Generator and to turn the Lava lakes in the Nether into Obsidian.
You want to know how? This is the point where you maybe want to look into a >specialized guide. The elegant Obsidian generator is described in the >alchemy guide, some way down (I first wrote about the complicated one, then somebody suggested the simple one, which is way better).
You should be getting a feel for things now. There is more to the machine stuff, and I will describe the useful and friendly Minefactory Reloaded in a separate post later.
13. Arm yourself
As soon as you have Iron to spare, make yourself some Iron Armor. You could also make it from Invar, but that one has the same defense, just higher durability, which is not worth wasting the precious compound for. An iron sword should also be an early priority, or maybe an Iron Spear or Halberd for the greater reach they give. But more importantly, as soon as you can obtain a fully-repaired bow (either by crafting or by looting/repair-crafting), do not shoot with it. Take it home and craft it into a Crossbow. The increased missile speed, punch and accuracy is more than worth the iron that goes into making the bolts. If you're short on feathers but do have gunpowder, make a Blunderbuss, which is a medieval shotgun that shoots gravel. Yes, you can actually make yourself a boomstick and go shotgun on them Creepers. This is thanks to the formidable Balkon's Weapon Mod, which should make fights that much more rewarding. Poke around in NEI for more stuff, and note that you can simply enter a mod's name to see its assorted items. There also is a Musket, a Boomerang and even a Javelin for throwing, and a Katana if you're feeling particularly samurai.
If you're looking for easy travel and a way to avoid fights, or even win them more easily, maybe a >Jetpack is what you need.
14. Advanced Mining: Turtle Power
In case you find mining tedious, there is a minion at your disposal that can do it for you. The Turtle is a programmable little sidekick, available in quite a lot of flavours, like mining. I never used it myself, but people tell me that it just takes coal to run and will bring back a healthy amount of resources from its adventures.
15. Advanced Mining: The Quarry
What you know as mining is usually just shaft mining, or opportunity mining while spelunking. If you can do it, strip mining will get you much more resources. Strip mining is the process of removing a mountain or chunk of landscape, piece by piece, until it is gone completely. I am pointing it out here in case you are successful and already found yourself some diamonds, because eleven diamonds are the entry fee to quarry land. If you're curious, I wrote down what I know about it in a >separate guide. It will be hard to power the Quarry with just Dynamos, though, so the next thing I'll cover is how to produce some serious power.
16. Power Struggles
If you experimented a little with all your new options, you have likely noticed that you can use lots of power with all those machines. Building more Steam Dynamos is only a temporary solution, because it becomes hard to feed them all with coal. You have several alternatives to solve the power generation problem:
switch to Compression Dynamos running on Fuel (or unprocessed Oil, but only in a pinch)
> you will need a Refinery to process Fuel (4 Diamonds), a Pump to gather Oil and some liquid storage, ideally Drums; you also need to keep finding Oil
switch to BioGenerators running on Biofuel
> you will need an autofarm to generate biomass and a BioReactor to ferment it
stick with Steam Dynamos, but build yourself a Charcoal generator
> you will need an autofarm to mass-produce wood
go nuclear and build an early Yellorium reactor
> you will need a few stacks of Iron Ingots, Coal/Charcoal, Yellorium Ingots, a little Redstone and 1 Diamond
Believe it or not, but 4. is by far the easiest option. The mod is called BigReactors, and it will introduce you to Multi-Block Structures while also providing KiRF of power (that is kilo-RF).
17. The Nuclear Option
I suggest you familiarize yourself with the principles of Yellorium Reactors on the wiki, so I don't have to paraphrase them here. We will build something slightly bigger than in the example pictures, namely a 4x4x4 cube without coolants that will serve you well until the time when you create your own, larger design. Here is your shopping list for the materials:
128 Iron Ingots
112 Graphite Bars
34 Yellorium Ingots + 32 (better some more) to run the finished reactor on
9 Redstone Dusts
1 Wooden Chest
(optional) 26 Glass if you want transparent sides to see the inside of the reactor
Graphite? Just smelt coal or charcoal to make it. As both will work, charcoal is recommended because it is renewable and cannot be pulverized for coal dust later. Yellorium is created by smelting pulverized Yellorite Ore. Don't smelt the ores directly, because that will turn them into Uranium (and forfeit the doubling). This is not a bug, but a feature to support Atomic Science, the other nuclear mod in Tekkit. It is vastly more >advanced and complicated, so stay away from that stuff for now.
It would be a good idea now to make a Machinist's Workbench for crafting. That one has an inventory of its own and can memorize a recipe even after you removed the ingredients (the items on the grid are only placeholders). Ingredients have to be inside that inventory for crafting, otherwise they will have a red underlay on the grid. Once you get used to it, you will find it useful for just about any kind of crafting.
Now craft the following blocks:
52 Reactor Casing for building, 28 more as ingredients to craft the other blocks
8 Yellorium Fuel Rods
4 Reactor Control Rods
1 Reactor Controller
1 Reactor Power Tap
1 Reactor Access Port
(optional) 13 Reactor Glass (re-craft 13 of the Casing blocks with the glass)
As usual, the recipes are in NEI. You will have three Casing blocks more than you need, because they can only be crafted in groups of four. Now assemble the Reactor!
If you opted for windows to look inside, keep in mind that only the side faces may contain Reactor Glass, not the frame and edges. Same rule applies to Power Tap, Access Port and Controller, so leave some room for them, too. Here is a picture of how the result should look like, one with glass and one without:
If you did everything right, the textures will change when the last block is placed. Congratulations, you built yourself a Multi-Block Reactor!
Climb on top first and set all Control Rods (separately) to 70%, then put 32 Yellorium Ingots into the Access Port. In case you missed it, Yellorium is not only a crafting component for the reactor, but also the actual fuel it consumes. Every Fuel Rod block inside will increase fuel capacity by four Ingots, so our 8-rod has a capacity of 8x4=32 Ingots.
Once you fueled it, the rods will be visibly filled with (liquified) Yellorium, although you can only see it if you used Reactor Glass. Now open the Controller interface and switch it on.
The Control Rods moderate the reaction, i.e. reduce core temperature and power output. The more extended they are, the less power is produced - think of them as nuclear handbrakes. You can leave them all out at 0%, which will result in a very hot reactor producing lots of power. There is much to know about reactor efficiency, temperature, fertility and more, but the setup I gave you strikes a good balance for your first operation at 70%. It will stay around the optimal temperature (which is ~900°C) and produce 960 RF/t, equalling 12 Dynamos. It will use just 0.02 mB/t of Yellorium, which means it will run over 40 minutes before the first Yellorium Ingot is completely burned and a Cyanite Ingot will be thrown out as waste. That's right, it can run a full real-life day on about 35 Yellorium Ingots, outputting 960 RF/t the whole time! Just keep a stack of Yellorium Ingots in the input slot, so it can replenish. Efficiency and power output will drop when the rods are not fully stacked with Yellorium.
If you don't actually need that much power, you can dial it back by extending the Control Rods further to 80% or 90%. Setting a Rod to 100% will disable it. It is recommended to have all Rods at the same height, otherwise the parameter readings will be funky (because they will oscillate between values for each Rod, which makes them largely useless). You can knock them all to 0% and see how high the temperatures and power output can go. Right now, there is no meltdown feature even when excessive heat is generated, so feel free to crank it up.
Remember that your Energy Conduits need to connect to the Power Tap. Leadstone ones are too weak entirely, so use at least Hardened ones. Observe, however, that Hardened Conduits and Cells max out at 400 RF/t, so your 960 RF/t won't pass through those. This is not tragic, because the Reactor comes with a free internal power storage of 10 million RF, which will fill with whatever the Conduits cannot take. Just keep in mind to shut down the Reactor once the internal storage is full, otherwise it will burn its fuel for nothing. You could also dial the reactor down with the Control Rods to get it below 400 RF/t, or simply go ahead with that third tech level now. Redstone Energy Conduits are the top tier, carrying up to 10000 RF/t. You will need Electrum and Hardened Glass for them, and fill the empty ones with Destabilized Redstone in a Fluid Transposer before they can be used. While you're at it, a Redstone Energy Cell makes sense now as well.
You can add a Reactor Rednet Port to the setup to get some advanced control options, and a Reactor Computer Port to even access it with ComputerCraft. But this is both optional and won't add much value to our little starter project.
Of course you can build reactors much, much bigger (up to 32x32x48 frame size). You can use coolants to moderate temperatures and influence efficiency, be creative with column setups and tinker around with just about anything. Have fun doing that!
Now that you have lots of power, it is time to build yourself an autofarm, and never worry about food or wood supplies again.
18. An autofarm?
You like swinging your hoe around all day and tending to every armful of grain personally? If you do, why are you playing Tekkit? :-p
No, the way of progress is turning that tedious farm into an efficient and, more importantly, self-sufficient factory. You can grow almost anything with a Minefactory Reloaded (MFR) farming chain, so let's build one to get you started!
You want the following machines for a simple, but complete farming chain that will produce tons of whatever biomass you tell it to grow:
4 Sewers (1 recipe yields 4 of them)
1 Sludge Boiler
1 Breeder (optional, but useful)
While you could start with as little as Planter and Harvester, the rest is not really expensive and will add great benefits. The hardest thing will actually be running all the necessary wiring, so make sure you have some stacks of Energy Conduits, Fluiducts and Itemducts to spare, and maybe an Energy Cell or two to act as buffers. You will also want Strongboxes as drop-chests for the productive machines. But first, you want Plastic Sheets. 19. Plastic Sheets?
This is the land of progress, remember? MFR adds a new type of tree that you maybe noticed already, the Rubber Tree. It can be found in swamps, but occasionally also in other biomes, they're not too rare.
You're asking yourself how rubber helps you with getting plastic? While there is a huge difference between the two materials in real life, MFR conveniently lumped them together into a single resource. Go chop a few of those trees, which will yield Rubber Wood, Rubber Tree Saplings and... Raw Rubber. If you have built a Sawmill, you can process the Rubber Wood there to turn it into Jungle Wood Planks, which will yield more raw rubber as a byproduct, instead of the usual Sawdust.
Smelt the Raw Rubber into Rubber Bars, then simply smelt those again and marvel at the alchemy when it turns into Raw Plastic. This can be directly converted to Plastic Sheets on any 2x2 crafting grid, but keep some Raw Plastic around and don't convert it all (6 Raw Plastic should be enough for starters).
We need those Sheets because all MFR machines take two of them to make, no exceptions. Most of those machines will also require Machine Frames and Redstone Reception Coils, the same ones that go into Thermal Expansion machines - so stock up on those, too. Look into the recipes to see what else you need, but there won't be anything that we didn't already use, and nothing too expensive.
20. But what exactly is an autofarm?
An autofarm is the loosely-used term for the totality of the MFR farming machines working together, forming something larger than the sum of its blocks. Unlike the Yellorium Reactor, it is NOT a single Multiblock Structure, and the layout is pretty much up to your own choices and ideas. It must follow some rules, though. You are free to choose the location, but try to build it outside under the unobstructed sky and not too far away from your laboratory.
Begin with the Planter. It is recommended to make a 2-3 block high maintenance room below the actual farm, so you can access the Planter from below and resolve any issues that might arise, without digging. The topmost layer needs to be Dirt or Grass blocks (either is fine), and the Planter needs to be placed one layer below the soil. I think you could even cover it up, but the standard placement will leave the space directly above it free, which allows you to place a bucket of water there. Why the water? The machine doesn't need it, but if you decide to grow crops (grain, potatoes, carrots), the soil needs moistening, which will be assured this way.
The Planter needs power, so lay down some Conduits. It is recommended to also leave room for an Itemduct pipe to automate seed/sapling supply later, so you might already want to prepare that now.
Setting up the Planter is simple. It has an inventory, from which it will consume any compatible seeds or saplings and plant them in the soil layer above. The coloured grid on the left allows you to control which kind of plant should grow in each quadrant, in case you need to grow several things. That's right, you don't need to set up one Planter for each kind, but can handle it all with a single one. However, the default range is only a 3x3 grid, so each quadrant is just one block in size, with the middle one unusable because of the water. The good news is that the quadrants will scale up with overall machine range. 21. Machine Range?
MFR offers machine range upgrades, maybe you already noticed the slot for that in the bottom right corner of the machine interface. The Planter will always till a square area centered on the actual machine, but the default range is just 1 block around the machine in each direction.
Upgrades are available from Lapis (+1 block) all the way up to Emerald (+11 blocks). This always specifies radius, not diameter, so an Emerald-upgraded Planter will till a 25x25 area (1 center block and 1+11 in all directions). Upgrades are the things we kept the Raw Plastic for, so make yourself two of them now, one for the Planter and one for the Harvester. Use Iron or Tin (+2, +3), not much larger, because the logistics become a challenge in larger setups. Tin is the maximum range that still falls within the moisture range of the central water block - so if you go bigger, you will have to worry about additional moisture for crops (trees don't need it). You can switch upgrades later even in a running machine.
So, now that your Planter tills a larger area, put down the Harvester on the (center) edge of that area and apply the same kind of upgrade to it that the Planter got, so their areas match. This will be vastly simpler if you first craft yourself a Precision Sledgehammer. This is a wrench, with a very useful feature. If you hold it in hand, you will see the actual ranges of machines as an overlay, so check your setup with this tool.
The Harvester has a hole on the back, so make sure that this one faces outward, and the shear/chopping side points to the tilled field. Connect power and an Itemduct to it. All harvested grains, wood, saplings, seeds and other byproducts will shoot out of here, sometimes at high speeds, so placing a buffer chest and running the pipe from that is a good idea. You also need to place a Fluiduct outlet, because the Harvester will output Sludge as a byproduct when harvesting. You can just pump it into Tanks or Drums for the start, but later you will need the Sludge Boiler to process it.
You may want to create a loopback pipe for seeds and saplings to be fed back into the Planter, so you don't have to refill it manually. One or more MFR Item Routers can sort the Harvester output for you, but Itemducts with Pneumatic Servos installed in the pipe heads can do this just as well.
At this point, you should drop your first seeds into the Planter. For starters, I suggest you feed it oak saplings, a few (grain) seeds and maybe rubber saplings (use the quadrant grid to balance how much of each is grown). The wood will be useful for your plank and stick needs, and also give you access to lots of Charcoal. Oaks drop Apples for eating, too (another of those convenient Minecraft anomalies). Note how the Planter does its own tilling. You will never need to swing that hoe again. 22. And what are the other machines for?
As you will be producing Sludge shortly, set up the Sludge Boiler. When this machine is working, anybody standing within a few blocks will suffer from Hunger and Poison debuffs, so give it some more pipe and build it some way off.
The Sludge will be consumed to randomly generate Dirt, Clay, Sand, Gravel, Netherrack, Soul Sand and Mycelium. Concerning Netherrack, this is actually an alternative to the early Nether Portal way back in point 11, but it will take a while until enough Netherrack will be created (and it also took more than a bit of progress until we got here). Overall, this machine is quite useful especially for the Sand and Clay, that is why I included it here. You could of course just void-pipe the Sludge into oblivion.
As for the Fertilizer (the machine), you will love this one.
It uses Industrial Fertilizer (the brown stuff) to instantly grow things on your farm, which will greatly accelerate operations.
You can craft Industrial Fertilizer, but the usual way to obtain it is from a Composter, which takes power and a supply of Sewage to produce it. Sewage? Yes, liquid manure, the product of toilets. This may be a factory, but it still is a farm as well.
In the absence of toilets, you guessed it, Sewage is produced by the Sewer. This one, at least, does not require any power, and you just need to pipe the stuff with Fluiducts towards the Composter. Sewers are another kind of MFR machine that work with range upgrades. But how do they work in general? Well, an animal, any animal, has to stand on top of it when it does its occasional check. The bigger the animal, the more Sewage is produced. So you want to set up a pen of cows, pigs or sheep (or all of them) and place your four Sewers as part of the ground layer.
This may seem a lot of effort to just gather some manure, but the increased effectiveness is really worth it. The range of a Sewer is limited to the single block on top without any upgrades, so install some. Keep in mind, however, that placing the Sewers close enough to each other that their (increased) ranges overlap can cause glitches.
While you already have a pen, you might as well place a Breeder as part of the pen wall. This one will automate mob breeding as long as it's powered and has the required food in its inventory (wheat for cows and sheep, carrots for pigs, seeds for chicken, raw fish for cats, any meat for dogs, golden apples/carrots for horses). More animals means more Sewage, means more Fertilizer, so you probably want a full pen. 23. That's a boatload of machines
And there is more. You will notice that much of this stuff can be done manually, so you simply complete the chain by eliminating the manual steps one by one. The last application of the farming chain is meat production. While you could just slaughter some animals with a weapon and rely on the Breeder to bring the head count back up, MFR offers machines to automate also that, among other things. I will just mention the important ones briefly here:
Deep Storage Unit: Will store just one stack of items, but maximum stack height is two billion (!)
Rancher: Will automatically shear sheep and milk cows
Chronotyper: Allows sorting your animals by type (baby/adult)
Slaughterhouse: Will kill your animals and produce liquid (!) meat, and some Pink Slime
Meat Packer: Turns the liquid meat into Raw Meat Ingots, your friendly industrial steak (heat before eating)
Mob Counter: Counts mobs - no, really, it can be used to fine-control your Breeder
Grinder: Kills mobs as if you killed them yourself, outputting the loot
The last one needs special mention. The Grinder can be used instead of a Slaughterhouse if you prefer your cows to yield beef, not liquid meat. Its main purpose, however, is killing hostile mobs.
Another useful feature the Grinder shares with Sewers (when animal breeding, ranching or killing occurs): It will generate Mob Essence. 24. Mob Essence?
Yes. Liquid experience! It is generated indirectly when Sewers soak up dropped experience orbs, and directly by Grinders. The third way to obtain it is to craft an XP Extractor and applying it on yourself (have an empty bucket ready somewhere in inventory), which will suck out levels you already obtained (!) and literally put them into buckets. This also means that if you apply the Extractor often, you cannot lose much experience any more when dying. It will be safe in liquid storage.
What can be done with Mob Essence? Well, the same things Minecraft does with experience in general, i.e. running Enchanting and Anvil operations. MFR has an Auto-Enchanter and Auto-Anvil, which will run off stored Mob Essence, and some power. That's right, no more tedious level-gathering to grind those enchantment books! With these tools, even obtaining Silk Touch is a matter of farming and patience. 25. Is the farm complete?
In a basic form. You can still experiment with Mushrooms and Netherwart (hint: works with a Planter, but requires manual placement of the necessary soils). You can scale everything up and try to build an especially elegant setup. Try to make it zero-maintenance, which will likely involve a stack of DSUs and maybe an early ME network. There is so much to tinker with that it will keep you occupied for a while, if you like it to. 26. Are we finally done now?
Not at all. But this guide has reached its end. I could write a whole book about Tekkit progression, and it would not be a thin one. But as nobody is paying me for it, and I'm also mostly re-telling information shared by others, let's leave it at this starter guide. You should have an idea about operations now, and the next progression steps will come rather naturally. Your long-term goals will be obtaining and mastering a Modular Powersuit, making a spaceship and flying to the Moon and Mars, creating a sophisticated storage network with Applied Energistics, and much more. You will upsize your Reactor, maybe add some impressive Turbines. A Laser Drill will eventually flood your storage with limitless ores.
Set your own goals, make your own achievements, find out about the little awesome things you can do. And of course the big awesome things, too.
And most importantly: Have fun doing it.