Copper is a metal used in a large number of alloys, among them bronze, which is almost as good as iron for smithing weapons and armor, and brass, which has the largest value increase of all non-steel alloys. Copper itself is a common, low-value metal and a sub-par arms material – more specifically, it is the second-worst metal available for slashing weapons, but is pretty good for blunt weapons.
Copper is fire-safe but not magma-safe.
- Early-game melee weapon and armor production, if you have no tin to make bronze or no iron. You will probably do best to find better metals though.
- Making picks (The material of a pick is irrelevant for mining, but does matter if the pick is used as a weapon.)
- Making bronze, which is better overall than copper for military applications.
- Training metalworking dwarves: copper is generally plentiful. This is possibly the best use for copper if you have better metals.
- Copper crossbows and copper bolts. Copper crossbows are the best crossbows if your marksdwarves are forced into melee – silver crossbows are only brought by humans and have no quality modifiers. Copper bolts are heavy enough and sharp enough to work as a good projectile, and iron/steel is generally too rare to be used in bolts. Both uses also train your weaponsmiths, which is always a good thing.
- Bins, cages, and barrels: although wooden ones are generally cheaper and lighter, copper containers are fire-safe and resistant to vermin. On maps where wood is scarce, copper can serve as a suitable substitute.
- Copper giant spiked balls for weapon traps.
Copper is smelted (at a smelter) from native copper, malachite, or tetrahedrite.
Copper may be combined with other metals at a smelter. The following is a list of recipes involving copper:
A copper ingot, coin and rod.