I have several magma smelters and forges, located right on top of a pool of naturally occurring magma (i.e., quite deep). It's a long haul to go from the surface where most of these items reside, to the magma work-area, and I have a large number of items to move. What's the most efficient way to get these items melted down? Things I've considered:

  • Dig a new 1x1 shaft all the way down from the surface, with a hatch cover; then designate a dump zone next to the shaft and mark all the goblinite for dumping. I haven't done this yet, as I am afraid that the dropped items will explode/shatter when they hit bottom, injuring my magma-smithy workforce, or become damaged to the point of being unmeltable (can that happen?)
  • Setup a minecart route of some kind. I am in progress on this, it is an unpowered route
  • Setup a multi-minecart chute system I just came up with this, not sure on viability. How durable are minecarts if you drop them from a great height?
  • Setup a pair of stockpiles, one on the surface that accepts all the things I want to melt, and one in the forge area that only takes from the surface pile, and assign wheelbarrows/bins appropriately. This seems surefire to work, but possibly very slow
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    * with multiple magma-resistant pumps move lava towards the surface and place the forges there. Make a mistake and die a fiery death.
    – SF.
    Jul 5, 2013 at 22:23
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    @SF. Honestly, that was always my strategy. Moving lava with a powered pump stack, while it requires some caution, is a lot less labor intensive (once the pump stack is built) than trucking all the goblinite down to the dungeons just so it can be smelted.
    – Paul Z
    Jul 8, 2013 at 23:25
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    @PaulZ: Not to mention you will probably also want to move most of the finished metal goods back up to the surface again as well. Also, once you have 2/7 magma on a tile (so it doesn't evaporate) powering a magma forge or smelter, it provides permanent power. You only need the magma pumpstacks when setting up new forge areas; the pumpstack can be disassembled once you have enough magma workshops. Jun 12, 2016 at 10:56
  • @MarkRipley Oh wow! That is extremely valuable information. Thanks for the tip. Yeah in the game where this was relevant I ended up creating a lengthy and quite elaborate automated rail/cart system to move all of the goods back up to the surface. It was exhaustingly complex to build, but it did eventually work. As it turns out this saved game became the first time I achieved "Mountainhome" status ever in DF; saved game file is here: drive.google.com/… Jun 14, 2016 at 15:34

3 Answers 3


Dig a new 1x1 shaft all the way down from the surface, with a hatch cover; then designate a dump zone next to the shaft and mark all the goblinite for dumping. You can drop a crystal flute a hundred z-levels and it will be none the worse for wear. Just make sure to build that hatch, as the goblins may not survive the journey, but a giant eagle will. If you do this, make sure the shaft ends away from a route dwarves are likely to take, preferably in a 1x1 room behind a door, and make sure you don't unforbid the dumped items before the last one has landed, you don't want your haulers' brains to be introduced to high-velocity copper swords.

Having that equipment gathered inside bins in a stockpile and then having another stockpile take these bins is the second best option (you'll need to remove the take designation until the stockpile is full of binned items, though), but it is still significantly slower and requires more effort than just bulk dump designations. Running minecart tracks between the two stockpiles might save you a lot of dwarf-hours, but will cost quite a bit in man-hours due to having to build tracks on every z level separately.

  • 2
    Just make sure no one is standing at ground zero. While the items will survive their fall just fine, trying to catch the plummeting goblinite is not a good idea.
    – Paul Z
    Jul 6, 2013 at 0:06
  • @PaulZ good point, added that to the answer, thanks!
    – kotekzot
    Jul 6, 2013 at 2:04
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    This worked great. I have all my goblin items being melted down as we speak, and only one dwarf died! Lol Jul 6, 2013 at 17:45
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    If you want to use the 1x1 shaft with the advantages of a stockpile you could use one of the variants of the undump like the Minecart Stop.
    – Nick
    Jul 6, 2013 at 23:54

Build the 1x1 shaft and then set up a minecart stop next to it that dumps on arrival into the shaft. At the bottom of the shaft, say zmany+1, build a hatch cover and link it to a lever.

Set up the rest of the minecart route to take from a weapons/armor metal only stockpile you make (it can be pretty small) and then get it all working right. The wiki can help you with minecart routes, they're weird. Your dwarves should pick up the goblinite, put it in a stockpile, then put it in the cart and push it to the shaft, where the cart empties into the shaft. Cart returns, refills, repeats.

At the bottom when you want to get stuff out, toggle the lever, take a beat for stuff to fall down, toggle again. This way your dwarves are never exposed to high-velocity metals, and if you put an appropriate 1x1 stockpile under the goblinite chute you can even link that stockpile directly to your smelters.

The whole system should run without your intervention, so you don't have to mark to dump and then reclaim stuff later. Yu will have to tweak the lever now and again, unless you feel clever and hook it up to a slow repeater .


Quantum dump into a hole?

Seems like the best idea to me, but then again you probably couldnt use a hatch cover so then you have an open hole for someone to dodge the hammerer and fall into... lol

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