Digging through large parts of the landscape in Minecraft can be pretty time consuming. Luckily for us, there’s many ways to make tasks such as these easier.

From using commands to Enchanting Tools, there’s many options to turn to in order to make your gameplay easier. However, none of it works quite like TNT.

Not only is it fun to watch TNT blow up, but it paves a way through the landscape and turns destroyed blocks into drops. A TNT launcher is an efficient way to shove a lot of TNT in a single direction and get the most out of the destruction.

How TNT Works in Minecraft

TNT is an explosive block in Minecraft that destroys itself and blocks around it when activated.

These blocks can be crafted as well as found naturally in the world, usually in structures like Mineshafts or Desert Temples. They’re useful, but can also pose a threat as they can inflict damage to the Player and other Mobs.

Many things can activate a block of TNT. The easiest way to detonate a block of TNT is using Flint and Steel or Redstone.

TNT can also be activated by explosions from other TNT blocks or Creepers, by spreading Fire or Lava, as well as Projectiles. Finally, it can be activated by being shot out by a Dispenser, which is one of the ways of launching and activating TNT.

You can also play around with Bow Enchantments because they can also ignite your TNT from a distance.

Minecraft TNT Recipe

  • 5 Gunpowder
  • 4 Sand Block

TNT is crafted on a Crafting Table using Sand and Gun Powder arranged in a pattern. The image below shows the pattern:

TNT recipe

To get the Gun Powder you can only get it by killing Creepers. The best way I have found to hunt for Creepers is using a Bow and Arrow to keep a distance, because if a Creeper dies from its own explosion it will not drop any Gun Powder.

Additionally, you can also look for TNT in Desert Temples and other structures where you can find it as Loot.

Building a TNT Launcher

There are many different designs for a TNT launcher. You can have them wide or long, big or small. There even exist designs for flying TNT bombers.

Though, when deciding on the size of your launcher, do keep in mind just how much TNT you wish to be launching out and at what rate. Too much TNT being exploded is a notorious way to instantly crash your game or computer.

If your TNT launcher is causing issues with game performance, do try checking and changing your tick speed to help.

So, for the sake of my framerate I will stick to a simple design. From this you can get a hold of the basics and then expand on it if you wish, using more complex Redstone circuiting.

For this design you will need:

  • 2 Sticky Pistons
  • 2 Slime Blocks
  • 1 Dispenser
  • 2 Redstone Repeaters
  • A Button or a Lever

This will be a manual launcher, but using a few more Repeaters and some Redstone Dust you can also switch it to automatic and save yourself the additional effort.

We will start by putting down the Redstone Repeaters one block apart from each other, facing in opposite directions. Put your Dispenser between them, facing upward.

The Repeater on the right you will need to put on 4 ticks, and the one on the left on 2 ticks. This will cause a long enough delay between the Pistons moving to launch the TNT.

TNT launcher 1 1

Now for the Sticky Pistons. Put one of them one block below next to the right Repeater, facing up.

The other one put a block above the Repeater, facing the rest of the mechanism. Place your Slime Blocks against each Piston.

When done the machine should look like this:

TNT Launcher 1 2

Now all that is left is adding your Button or Lever to the Dispenser and filling it up with your TNT. Make sure that your activator is exactly on the Dispenser and not on the side of it.

If you automate this launcher, be mindful of how much TNT you put in as large amounts will certainly lag your game while being launched out.

Additional Launcher Design

This design will be somewhat longer and require a bit more material. For this design I recommend using Obsidian for the blocks due to its very high blast resistance. You will need:

  • 16 Obsidian (you can use any other block, but Obsidian has the highest blast resistance and will keep your contraption from being accidentally destroyed)
  • 1 Bucket of Water
  • 2 Levers
  • Redstone Dust
  • 1 Slab
  • TNT

Start by putting your Obsidian in a U shape with a 1 block wide and 6 block long gap between the two rows. Place a final Obsidian block at the top of one of the front blocks of your shape. Finally, add your one slab in the gap between the two rows.

TNT Launcher 2 1

Now that the Slab is in place you can add your Water at the far end. The Slab will prevent it from spilling out. At the same end place down a Lever in each corner.

Connect the Levers to the far ends of the launcher using Redstone Dust.

Now all that is left is to put down the TNT inside the gap. Make sure you don’t put the TNT all the way up to the last block of Water, so you don’t remove the Water on accident or stop its flow.

Line up the TNT in the gap with a single block of TNT on top at the end of the line as shown in the image below.

TNT Launcher 2 2

The way this will work is that one Lever will ignite the line of TNT, which will be pushed together by the Water to the Slab.

The other Lever will ignite the single block of TNT on top of the line. The line of TNT will explode and launch the final TNT block into the air.

Because the line of TNT was activated first, it’ll explode before the last block, launching it to the distance where it will explode.

You can certainly play around with the timing of launching. I’ve had some blocks fly a short distance, some get launched far or explode in the air.