An iron-carbon metal alloy used for building a huge variety of structures, weapons, and machines.
- Stuff Category
- Stack Limit
- 0.5 kg
- Path Cost
- Terrain Affordance
- Beauty Factor
- Beauty Offset
- Work To Make Factor
- Work To Build Factor
- Max Hit Points
- Armor - Sharp
- Armor - Blunt
- Armor - Heat
- Insulation - Cold
- +3 °C (5.4 °F)
- Insulation - Heat
- +0 °C (0 °F)
- Melee Blunt Damage
- Melee Sharp Damage
- Melee Cooldown
- Door Opening Speed
- Rest Effectiveness
Steel is a raw resource, crucial throughout the game for different purposes, such as construction of various structures, and production of weapons and armor.
Compacted steel tiles have 1,500 health each, making them one of the faster ores to mine. They can be found in larger-sized clusters, ranging around 30+ tiles in size. Each mined block has a base yield of 40 steel, however this is modified by factors such as the Difficulty setting and the mining yield of the pawn.
Steel is used in the following crafting recipes:
Comparison of all the ways to get steel. For large stretches of the game, steel is a limited resource in high demand. Note that one of the better ways to have enough steel is to not use it carelessly.
Math comparisons all assume a healthy pawn with no artificial body parts, full light, and Strive to Survive difficulty. All methods except trade and mining camps are affected by Manipulation, Sight (if <100%), and Global Work Speed. Trade, mining camps, and all means of mining compacted steel, are affected by difficulty.
Sources of steel that are limited on a per-map basis.
- Mining ore. The most straightforward way to get steel. As you mine ore, each deposit will be further and further away, increasing travel time until there is none left. Impacted by Mining Speed and Mining Yield (Mining skill). At 100% speed (Mining 8), it takes 47.5 ticks (0.79 secs) per steel(???), not counting travel time.
- Strip mining. Dig out tunnels in large portions of rock to find ore. Inherently variable, but always worse than just mining exposed ore. Practical in large hills / mountain maps.
- Deconstruction. Take apart steel walls, urns, ship chunks, or other items found from ruins. A very limited source of steel, but very effective early game. Impacted by Construction Speed and structures available. At 100% Construction Speed (Construction 8), it takes 54 ticks (0.9 secs) per steel (when deconstructing walls), not counting travel time.
Infinite sources of steel, but not indefinite - you can only obtain so much steel at any given time, regardless of pawn count.
- Traders. Bulk goods traders and faction bases specifically; visitors carry 200-300 steel, and orbital traders carry 500-800. The advantage is that almost every colony will have some way of making money. Highly variable based on your means of making money, the negotiator's Trade Price Improvement (Social skill), and difficulty (the setting Trade price disadvantage).
- Faction bases require a caravan to walk there, and you'll need some way to carry all the steel back (usually pack animals).
- You can call in bulk goods traders to come vist with a comms console if you are an ally with a faction. Has a 4 day cooldown, and cost 15 goodwill, though you can gift items to get goodwill back.
- Electric smelters. Smelters can turn raider weapons into steel, which can net a lot of steel over time. Generally faster than a deep drill, but you only have so many items to smelt at a time. Determined by general labor speed, which no skill affects. Building a smelter requires 170 steel & 2 components, which is quite a lot in the early game. Save building one until you can get a return on investment - those chunks aren't going anywhere.
- Steel slag chunks take 26.7 ticks (0.45 secs) per steel, not counting travel time. Drop pod raids often spawn steel chunks near the edge - i.e., a lot of travel time.
- Weapons and apparel vary based on the item smelted - giving 25% of their original cost for 1600 ticks. It takes 228.6 ticks (3.81 secs) per steel for the worst items, autopistols and knives. It takes ~106.7 ticks (1.78 secs) per steel for most guns. Make sure not to smelt your own weapons!
- Weapons sell for 0.2x market value. But even with this modifier, you can get more steel for selling guns with high% HP and buying from a trader (see Sell or Smelt). However, you'll either need to trade to a faction base, or wait for a combat supplier to sell to and then a bulk goods to buy from. Tainted apparel and biocoded weapons are unsellable, but smeltable.
- Shredding mechanoids. Mechanoids can be shredded at a machining table, or, much less efficiently, smashed at a crafting spot. Even faster than a smelter, but like the smelter, you'll only have so many mechanoids to shred at one time. The mechanoid type & missing body parts matter.
- Meteorites. These events can sometimes generate steel ore on your map. Exactly the same time as steel ore, because it is made of steel ore. This event cannot be relied upon, but is technically infinite for infinite colony duration.
- Steel drop permit. 250 steel for free every 40 days. No work, other than the work for Acolyte honor (13 total). Only real cost is the permit slot. Costs 4 honor to skip the cooldown; not generally worth it due to the value of honor.
- Mining camps. Mining camps can randomly spawn as a quest in the Ideology DLC, which may contain steel. The camp will contain pre-mined steel, as well as enemies to defeat. The steel (and amount of enemies) is dependent on the raid points mechanic - the more things you have, the bigger the camp.
- Ancient complexes. These spawn like mining camps, though you can also use a ritual to generate one. Complexes are usually made out of steel walls and concrete floor, which can be deconstructed. Highly variable. Need time to get to the complex, and a way to bring the steel back.
Infinite sources of steel, so long as you have the equipment and pawn time to spare. Enough steel for lategame and endgame colonies.
- Deep drills. Specifically, drills and ground-penetrating scanners. Each scan can give a deposit of up to 12000 steel, and the ground will never run out of deposits. The scanner requires an advanced component and quite a bit of research. Multiple scanners/drills can run at a time. Research Speed impacts scanning (Intellectual), Deep Drilling Speed for the drill (Mining).
- At 100% Research Speed (Intellectual 8), it takes 180,000 ticks (50 mins) to find any deposit. Note that ground scanners cannot be tuned to a specific mineral (53% for steel). Average of 37.7 ticks (0.63 secs) per steel. In addition, you may want to wait until you find minerals actually close to your base.
- At 100% Deep Drilling Speed (Mining 8), 400 ticks (6.67 secs) per steel just for extraction. Heavily dependent on mining skill; recommended to have multiple miners at once.
- Long-range mineral scanners. Long-range scanners will find minerals out in the world, from 55-60 ore tiles (2200 - 2400 steel at 100% Mining Yield) at a time. The scanner requires an advanced component and the same research as deep drill + ground scanner. Each lump may come with a small threat, so bring more than 1 pawn. Research Speed impacts scanning (Intellectual), and mining ore is the same as any ore (Mining). You will need some way to bring that steel back, whenever it'd be pack animals, transport pods, or farskip.
- At 100% Research Speed (Intellectual 8), it takes 240,000 ticks (66.67 mins) to scan the steel. At 100% mining yield, this means it takes 109.1 ticks (1.82 secs) per steel to scan. Unlike ground scanners, long-range scanners can be tuned to a mineral.
- At 100% Mining (Mining 8), 47.5 ticks (0.79 secs) per steel just to mine the ore.
- Time to travel is a lot. Transport pods have near-instant travel time, but cost 50 steel, 1 component, and variable chemfuel to launch.
In general, deep drill + ground scanners are better with great miners or many miners, while long-range scanners are better with great scanners but only competent miners. Settling on a nearby tile is possibly better than a long-range scanner, especially without transport pods.
Ground scanners also have the advantage of requiring no micromanagement after a nearby ore deposit is found. This means that it can satiate an endgame colony's needs without nearly as much hassle as the other options.
- Settling on another tile. Available as soon as you enable multiple colonies (Settings/Gameplay). Incredibly variable. Ideally, you'd want to settle on a large hills or mountain tile almost directly adjacent to your colony. There are two strategies with settlement:
- Temporary settlement. Mine any exposed ores, raid ancient dangers you see, and then abandon it. Ideal if you have a great single miner who can take lowered mood, and some way to bring the steel back (transport pods usually, or pack animals).
- Permanent settlement. If you want a permanent 2nd colony, you could always send the steel back. Ideally, you'd want a good planter and constructor alongside your miner; a pawn can fulfill multiple roles at a time. There is a lot of strategy with another colony that is not mentioned here.
- (This is technically not infinite, but there are thousands of tiles even on a 30% coverage map, more than enough for any reasonable playthrough)
- Mechanoid commander farming. The diabolus and war queen can be summoned, farmed, and shredded for steel and plasteel. Diaboli are free to summon. War queens require 50 Steel, 4 Components for a mechband antenna, but the resulting steel is always profitable, especially as the antenna creates a couple steel slag chunks.