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How to dig under sand (solo) in 11 easy steps.

ManaUser

Brain of Cthulhu
Note: Sand behavior changed in 1.4, so this won't work anymore.

As indicated by the title, this method isn't quick or simple. But when these steps are followed correctly it's very reliable.

Before starting, you will need:

Actuators, Switch or Lever, Wires, a Bucket of water, a Bucket of lava, any kind of immobile blocks.

Recommended:

Extendo Grip, a sup-demonite pickaxe



  1. Place a double row of actuators in the sand, just about head height (4 and 5 tiles above ground level).
  2. Install the switch.
  3. Wire them together.
  4. Flip the switch.
  5. Make a dam on the open side.
  6. Pour in one bucket of water (order matters).
  7. Pour in one bucket of lava.
  8. Flip the switch again.
  9. Dig out the row of sand containing the liquids. Obsidian is created (a weak pickaxe will ensure you don't break it, or just be careful).
  10. Dig under the Obsidian.
  11. Remove dam and mechanisms.
You can make a tunnel least 8 tiles long (probably more) with just one bucket of each liquid, so the Extendo Grip is a big help. As you can see in the GIF, the sand above does not fall even one block, but it will be momentarily disturbed, breaking cactus etc.
 
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crizyx

Official Terrarian
Hello,

Does it work for the 1.4 ?
I tried it but i'm not sure to understand correctly this method and the gif has disappeared.

I just want to save my oasis by constructing a barrier around it but digging at the layer of sand is very hard and it not preserve the look.
Can you help me ?

1592389725447.png

Thanks
 
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crizyx

Official Terrarian
Thanks for reply. I'm so sad to not have a vanilla way except it Terraria: Tunneling through sand, this is so destructive.

Sullychu way, 2013 :sigh:

1592467901606.png

  1. place a bomb at the base of the sand you are digging through
  2. jump and grapple about 4-5 blocks above it
  3. be ready to place a stone block in immediately at the time of detonation

It's slow work, you go through a lot of bombs, and it's very easy to blow yourself up. But hey, anything to preserve the ton of sand above it.
 

ManaUser

Brain of Cthulhu
Hmm... Maybe you could combine the techniques. What if instead of a bomb, you used an actuator and a timer?
 

crizyx

Official Terrarian
I think it would be less expensive but the result would be the same. It would be just as destructive, I could put blocks all over the sand to reform the biome but it would be really long and complicated with the lake.

1592473972675.png


I tried with the timer and it's the same as the bomb. ;(
 

Dragrath

Skeletron Prime
I'm not sure if you are aware but at the very least in 1.4 Torches now break sand so If you place a torch on the floor below the block which is holding up a large column of sand and remove the block above the sand the whole sand column will rapidly turn into items it is amazing but you need to find the bottom of a column of sand. There might be other placable items which work but it can be very helpful if you mine from below a desert etc.
 

ManaUser

Brain of Cthulhu
This is true, and that's actually what will happen if you attempt my old in instructions above, too. It useful if you want to mine a bunch of sand, but unfortunate if you'd prefer to go through/under the sand without disturbing it. None the less, mining all the sand this way and then re-placing it by dropping it from above might be the best option currently.
 
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