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40d:Metal industry

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This article is about an older version of DF.

The metal industry can be quite profitable, as pursuit of high-quality weapons and armour for your military or statues and furniture for hallways and rooms can provide many lesser-grade items to trade or melt down and recycle.

Raw material[edit]


Ore is a generic term given to a mineral which can be refined to produce a metal. Within the game this is done at a smelter.

By default, all ore is reserved for smelting rather than being available for use by masons or stonecrafters.

You can adjust the preferences in the Stone Status Screen to free ores for uses other than smelting. This can be a quick way around producing high-value furniture from native gold (or similar high-value ores) by using a mason rather than refining the ore and producing furniture using your metalsmith.


Once an ore is smelted into pure metal, it becomes a bar of that metal. Sometimes ores and/or bars can be combined to produce alloys, which also come in bars.

Captured items[edit]

Melting the weapons and armor of invaders is a very lucrative source of metal bars while your mining and smelting operations are being established.

To melt a captured items they must be individually designated for melting. A "Melt object" job must be issued at a smelter. When both these actions have been taken a dwarf with assigned to the furnace operator labor will collect the item and melt it at a smelter.

Heat sources[edit]

Producing metal from ore, and turning the metal into finished products, requires a large amount of heat. This can come in two forms:

Conventional vs Magma powered[edit]

Conventional (non-magma) smelters and forges require fuel to run them. Magma versions require only an open floor to magma below them.


Fuel for the metal industry is processed at a smelter or wood burner, but magma smelters and magma forges do not need conventional fuel to operate.

Producing steel will require refined coal (also known out of game as fuel) even at a magma smelter, either in the form of coke or charcoal. Pig iron is made by smelting 1 iron with 1 refined coal and 1 flux, and steel is made by smelting 1 iron bar with 1 pig iron, 1 more refined coal and 1 more flux, producing a final product of 2 steel bars. In the end, each steel produced requires 1 iron ore, 1 flux, and 1 refined coal, regardless of where it is processed. (See Fuel and Smelting.)


Ore will be placed in stone stockpiles by dwarves with the stone hauling labor enabled. The stockpile must be set for required ore to be permitted but it can have Economic and Other stones forbidden.

For continuous operation of smelters, stockpiles of ore, as well as flux and refined coal if producing iron or steel, should be located nearby the smelter. Refined coal will be placed in a bar stockpile which has coal permitted.

Captured items can be placed in a stockpile reserved for metal weapons &/or armor that is "unusable". Designating every item for melting can be done easily if this stockpile is set to not no bins.


Because smelters can be slower than forges, especially when producing steel bars and/or items that consume several bars at a time, providing several smelters (and smelter operators) per working forge is recommended.

Clutter can be a problem as well, especially when smelting steel or bituminous coal, and multiple smelters can be rotated as one becomes cluttered and the next activated.

Completed products[edit]

Through a variety of labors and workshops, the metal industry can create high value armor, furniture, weapons and crafts.

Metal products have advantages over similar items created from other materials.

Firstly they are intrinsically high value.

Secondly they are heat resistant. No metal can be burned, and several metals resist melting. These magma-safe metals are Adamantine, Iron, Nickel, Nickel silver, Platinum and Steel.

Finally, in the arms race, metal weapons and armor are superior to other materials in dealing out or protection from injury.


Metal furniture is created by a metalsmith (that is, a dwarf with the blacksmithing labor activated) at a forge using metal bars.

The high value of metal furniture can assist in appeasing the requirements of nobility, providing happy thoughts as dwarves use a well, pass communal or private cages or statues, or in creating high-rent rooms once you have established an economy. This can also create high value trade goods.

As discussed above, metal furniture is heat resistant. This can be useful in fortress defence and in construction.


flowchart of raw materials and produce created through the metal industry
Required worker / tasks[edit]