v0.31:Metal industry

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This article is about an older version of DF.

The metal industry is a catch all phrase for both the smelting of raw ore into metal bar (as well as alloys) and turning those bars into crafts, furniture, weapons and armor. It can be very profitable to produce statues and furniture for hallways or trade goods as many metals have high value. It also allows the production of high-quality weapons and armour for your military.

Metal Industry Flowchart.


Requires: A Miner

Ore is the generic term for a mineral that contains metal. Available ore can vary largely in different areas, Iron occurs almost exclusively in Sedimentary layers while Gold only occurs in Igneous layers. Stone layers should be carefully considered when embarking as ores and bars can only be imported in small quantities.

By default all ore is reserved for smelting, thus unavailable for use via Masons and Stone crafters.

You can adjust which ores are available for use by masons or crafters in the Status menu. This may be preferable if you have a mason or crafters with a higher skill level than any metalsmiths or wish to quickly produce valuable furniture or crafts. Nobles may occasionally mandate the construction of ore-based goods.


Requires: A furnace operator, a Smelter and ore(s).

Once an ore is mined it can be turned into a metal bar. Bars do not have the quality and the only advantage of a higher skilled Furnace Op is that tasks will be completed faster. Small ore stockpiles should be established near smelters so Furnace Ops don't have to walk long distances to fetch ore. Smelters are prone to cluttering, so free space on your bar stockpiles and plenty of bins is vital for efficiency.

Powering Furnaces[edit]

Furnaces require heat; this comes in two forms: Fuel and Magma


Coke/coal/refined coal can be made from wood at a wood furnace, as well as lignite and bituminous coal at a Smelter. All fuels are identical. Fuel can also be purchased during embark preparations.


Once magma has been encountered Magma smelters will become available in the Furnace build menu. Magma smelters are only powered when built 1 z-level above at least one tile of open magma, the magma must be at least 4/7 in depth, if the depth falls below 4/7 all jobs will be canceled.


Flowchart of ore refining and common alloy formulas.

Pure metals can be combined at smelters to produce alloys. Some alloys such as Brass can be smelted for a net gain in value, others such as Rose gold for unique colours.


The equipment of invaders can be melted down into bars (note: Elves do not use metal equipment). Equipment of slain enemies must first be reclaimed and then marked for melting (d-b-m ?). The equipment of caged enemies can also be taken by mass dumping [d]-[b]-[d] (an accessible garbage zone is required) a caged creature (manually reclaim the caged creature via the [k] inspect menu to prevent it from being dumped too) and then reclaiming and marking for melting as explained above.

Once an object has been marked for melting it will be melted down in a smelter that has an active "Melt Object" job.

When an object is melted a full bar will never be produced, the amount of metal recovered from an item is consistent and varies from 10%-60%. The incomplete bar is stored in the Smelter and a bar will be produced once the recovered meter reaches 100%.


Requires: A forge, a metalsmith, metal bar(s).

Metal bars can be turned into a variety of products for use by your fortress, for the purpose of exporting low-weight items such as crafts are suggested.

Powering Forges[edit]

See: Powering Furnaces.


Required worker/labor[edit]

Furnace operator/Smelting

Required buildings[edit]