|This article is about an older version of DF.|
The Glass Industry is an extremely versatile source of items. Everything from trade goods to furniture to low value glass gems to blocks to trap components can be made from glass, making Glassmakers an extremely useful profession.
In order to produce glass in great quantities, your map should have sand. Sand is offered by caravans, but very little can be acquired at a time. If you want a massive glass industry, check on your pre-embark map for sand layers.
To make items from glass, sand must first be gathered in bags using a task available at any glass furnace, "Gather Sand". You must designate a Sand Collection zone from the ( )-menu that includes an accessible area of sand in order for this task to succeed.
All types of glassmaking require at least a bag of sand. The "Collect Sand" order at the glass furnace requires the "item hauling" labor, not glassmaking. The Collect Sand order does however still occupy the glass furnace, preventing glassmakers from working in it until it has been completed. Collecting sand is also a time consuming task, and glassmakers quickly become faster at making items than at gathering materials to the point that jobs are canceled as sand becomes scarce.
Collecting sand efficiently
There are two main ways around this problem, each with its own benefits and drawbacks.
The fast, somewhat sloppy method is to build additional glass furnaces for the sole purpose of repeating the Collect Sand order while others are used for actual glassmaking. Keep in mind that ordering glass goods through the manager will schedule jobs in your sand collection glass furnaces, which can get irritating and interfere with your balance of sand supplies and glassmaking orders. To avoid this, queue ten sand collection jobs and set them all to repeat. This will prevent new jobs from being assigned to the furnace.
- This method will free up time for your glassmakers to focus on making glass items.
- It is possible to turn off all of your craftsdwarves' hauling labors and let your pack of otherwise useless Potash Makers do all the grunt work of filling bags.
- This method is hard to balance. Just when you think you have found an equilibrium between supply and demand, a legendary glassmaker goes to sleep and every bag is filled with sand during his absence, resulting in a cascade of canceled bag filling jobs. If you go too far the other way and order more bags than can be used, hundreds of surplus sand bags accumulate until you eventually run out of bags or tweak the balance again.
Slow and easy
The slightly slower but more controllable method of collecting sand efficiently. Assign each glass furnace to an individual glassmaker, and make sure that the dwarf's item hauling labor is turned on. Stagger work orders so the glassmaker hauls their own sand, then makes their item, then hauls their own sand.
- Orders can be set to repeat endlessly in the background with no oversight, which is particularly excellent when mass producing raw glass or blocks.
- Tandem job orders like this mean that only five orders can be placed at a time, meaning that orders are placed most effectively as repeats. A way around this is to set five different types of tandem orders and suspend and unsuspend them as desired.
- This method is slower than the brute force method, and doesn't give your horde of idle dwarves anything to do.
- The manager can still be a burden with this system and ruin the balance of labors.
Varieties of glass
- Producing crystal glass requires no sand, but does require pearlash and rough rock crystals, a gem which is not found on all maps. Cut rock crystals bought from traders will not work for producing crystal glass. Crystal glass is worth ten times as much as objects made from most stones, making it equivalent in value to metals like silver.
See also "Glass" for a full discussion of the properties of glass items.
Glass Industry Flowchart
Glassmaking vs. masonry
There is considerable overlap between items produced from stone at a Mason's workshop, and items produced from glass at glass furnaces. Masonry is easier to get running and will clear excess stone from your fortress. Glass produces items with a higher base value (unless you make your masons use flux or obsidian), and using a magma glass furnace allows you to make green glass objects without consuming anything but dwarven labor. Glass also provides a magma-safe alternative, to prepare for magma-based projects before it's discovered or avoid stockpile micromanagement for the correct building materials.