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This article is about the current version of DF.
Vertical axle


Materials Jobs

Uses 1 power per tile.

Horizontal axle


Materials Jobs

Uses 1 power per tile.

Axles are used to transmit power (as generated by a windmill or water wheel) over a distance. There are two types: vertical axles move power between z-levels, while horizontal axles move it north, south, east or west within a given level. Axles consume 1 unit of power per tile.

For a basic overview of how the different machine parts work and work together, see machine component.

Mechanics of an axle.


Axles are constructed via the machine components screen: b-M-h for horizontal, b-M-v for vertical; axles are never diagonal. Axles require the carpenter labor, and use logs, but the number of logs needed varies with the length and orientation of the axle. As they are made of wood, axles are NOT magma-proof, except for those made of nether-cap.

Vertical axles require one log for every z-level. Horizontal axles require one log for 1-3 tiles length, two for 4-7, or three for 8-10. When making a long chain of axles, building them in groups of 7 tiles long uses the least amount of logs, with an efficiency of 3.5 tiles per log. If you are feeling lazy, building them in groups of 10 tiles is nearly as efficient: 3.33 tiles per log.* Horizontal axles run East–West by default, but can be built oriented North–South.

(* Tile distances of 14, 21, 24, 28, 31, 34, 35, 38, 41, 42, 44, 45, 48, 49, 51, 52, 54, 55, 58, 59, 61-66, and 68+ will save you a log or more. Any other distance and the logs/tile used will be the same.)

Changing direction 90° requires a gear assembly at the corner between two perpendicular axles, whether the change is horizontal or vertical. The gear and the axles do not overlap into the same tile, but sit next to or on top of each other in adjacent tiles. Once they are adjacent, the power transfer is automatic; gear assemblies can be linked to a lever (or other trigger) to stop the power transfer.

Floor tiles will obstruct the transfer of power over z-levels, so channels need to be dug through every floor through which a vertical axle passes. (It is not possible to build a vertical axle through stairs.) Be sure to build vertical axle stacks from the bottom z-level up. You cannot build the axle on open space (like directly below a windmill), but can build it on open space that has another axle, gear assembly, or machine directly below.

Axles do not block unit movement and can be crossed by dwarves without danger. But keep in mind that digging channels for a vertical axle usually results in a hole that cannot be crossed. Also keep in mind that digging a deep vertical shaft for axles (for example, to bring power from a windmill on the surface to a roller in a deep underground mine shaft) has the danger of a dwarf falling down the pit, with predictable results.

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Machine and trap parts
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