Filters are similar to Transposers, but are capable of sucking full stacks from any container. Note that they can suck up items on the ground like the Transposer can, but range is slightly smaller. Right-clicking a Filter opens a GUI with nine inventory slots. When presented with a redstone pulse, a Filter will retrieve items from the attached tube or adjacent container equal to the amount and type present in its inventory. A Filter with an empty inventory will suck up any items.
Inline filtering For Large Quantities
The filter is also capable of being used "inline" i.e. not joined to an inventory but to two Pneumatic Tubes. This makes it effective for filtering large amounts of items. To do this you can use one filter to pull a variety of items out of a chest and then use many filters to sort the items into different pneumatic lines (you may also consider using a Sorting Machine). Inline filters supplied with redstone current will accept all items except those you place in its inventory.
From prerelease 4d onwards, a Filter can assign a color tag to items passing through it. However, as of PR5B2, you cannot have a filter only apply a color to a certain sized-stack while it is inline. Any sized stack will go through the filter as long as you have at least one of that item in the inventory. One example is when pulling from an inventory such as a chest; for example, if you put a filter with 64 of an item in it pulling from a chest, it will only pull full and not partial stacks.
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The Filter is known to not retrieve items from advanced IndustrialCraft machines, such as the Rotary Macerator.