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The question is literally the tittle above. You're wasting your time reading this.

For context: The planet Abios is inhabited by a race of sentient robots. They're mechanical. They need infrastructure to replicate. Which means they need miners. Which means they need an entirely dedicated clade of robots to fill this niche in the assembly line... You're pretty much up to speed.

Miner bots or as I call them BOBs (boulder-obliterating-bots) are at the bottom of the supply chain. They dig around, find ores to eat, grind them in their 'stomach' with ball mills, mix it with water and excrete slurry which is then transported further along the supply chain.

They eat rocks. That's all you need to know.

These hunk pieces of metal have a simple, yet sturdy design. Stainless steel protects them from impacts and corrosion. They are powered by hydraulics and trusty lithium ion batteries (there's no fossil fuel on Abios, did I mention that). They are designed to be compact to fit through tunnels and make them more durable. They move on trails and dig using shovel-like limbs. When they sense a rock they shatter it into smaller pieces using a hydraulic hammer. They then eat the pieces, grind the pieces, turn them to powder in internal ball mills, mix the resulting powder with water to make slurry which then moves along the supply chain. They're like mechanical earthworms in a way... why are you still reading this?

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  • $\begingroup$ What are they mining, and how? Are they strip-mining vast sections of the planet without our organic regard for aesthetics, pursuing valuable seams of material in the depths of the earth, quarrying huge sections of bulk material to go in the chipper/shredder? Are they operating in sedimentary rocks like huge shale formations, or boring through harder granite bedrock? $\endgroup$
    – Cadence
    Apr 22 at 21:47
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    $\begingroup$ Soft rock? hard rock? What are the 'teeth'? Ore processing facilities, and tunnel boring machines 'eat' rock but are radically different. The huge coal digger machines have huge buckets. Those three systems have much different mouths. The types of rocks very enough that specialists are needed, $\endgroup$ Apr 22 at 22:42
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    $\begingroup$ You should edit the old question and get it reopened, not delete and repost it. $\endgroup$
    – L.Dutch
    Apr 23 at 3:47
  • $\begingroup$ @Cadence Copper, zinc, aluminum and iron. Strip mining most likely as bedrock would require a drill. This is all I can say, I’m not a geologist. $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 6:54
  • $\begingroup$ @SolomonSlow Good catch. I fixed it. $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 16:29

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Jaw-style rock crusher:

No magic. Engineering has already solved this problem. Industrial rock crushers are a thing, and the up-close view of these in action is in this video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQ41yP7LMII

enter image description here

But it's only part of a whole system. It's very likely your bots will tend to look like industrial mining equipment. Most such equipment feeds material (grain, crushed rock, whatever) into a separate bin or directly into a truck that hauls the material away.

enter image description here

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice answer, thank you! I only now notice that the ‘mouth’ should be place upward so that the rocks don’t fall out. I’ll have to redo my design. $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 10:15
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Their mouth could be a circular suction tube like those used in mining to suck rubble away.

You didn't say where the hydraulic hammer was on their body, how about in its mouth/suction tube? Before I read about the hammer I imaged a rotating drill coming out of the mouth like the aliens inner mouth in Ridley Scott's Alien.

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As they're robots, and there's no problem with them having freely-rotating ceramic or metal parts, there are any number of real-world designs to copy.

A more interesting question would be how biological rock-eaters would work. Since they probably don't have a lot of energy to spare, given their diet, they'd be unlikely to chew rocks with brute force, but perhaps they would slowly break up their prey in the same way tree roots break up paving slabs (or inject pressurized fluid into cracks in the rock, to the same end).

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