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Windmill icon.png

Materials Labors

Generates 40, 20, or 0 power, depending on wind level

This article is about the current version of DF.
Note that some content may still need to be updated.

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

A windmill is a machine component that provides power via wind on the surface of a fortress map.

In order for the windmill to generate power, its center tile must have the "outside" attribute. The power produced by each windmill can be 40, 20, or (rarely) 0, depending on on how much wind there is on your map*. If its power output is zero, but you've just finished constructing it, give it a few ticks (fifty or so) to start spinning. It may need to reorient itself to align with the wind direction first. If that doesn't work, there may still be hope. In previous versions, wind was fixed and did not vary on any embark map, not with the seasons, nor by changing location nor elevation. If a windmill built on solid ground did not generate any power, then you simply didn't have enough wind on your map and would never be able to use windmills. While this may still be true for some maps, there are numerous reports in the Steam version of elevation and location affecting the power generated by a windmill. If a windmill at ground level does not generate power, placing the windmill on a platform at a higher elevation can sometimes make the windmill begin generating power again.

(* The amount of wind is largely based on the latitude at which your fortress is located on the world map. See Wind.)

Designate a windmill with the (Ui b.pngb-Ui bm.pngm-Ui bmm.pngm) keys. Constructing a windmill requires carpentry.

Windmill animation.gif
Windmill anim.gif

The power generated by a windmill is transmitted either horizontally through the surrounding twelve tiles, or downward through its center tile. If you wish to use the center tile, you must first channel out the central tile and build the windmill on top of an existing vertical axle or gear assembly (or the actual machine you wish to power). As the center tile of the windmill has an implied floor, this does not permit passage as long as the windmill stands.

When building a windmill on top of an existing axle or assembly, you might get a "no access" message even if your dwarves can reach the center space of the windmill. You'll need to build a floor so that there's a place to stand adjacent to one of the nine windmill squares (i.e. one space between the standing platform and the windmill axle). Spaces adjacent to the windmill's axle (i.e. within the 3×3 building area) aren't sufficient for construction access.

Due to what is assumed to be a bug, it is sometimes possible for windmills to transmit their power through a solid floor without channeling. They only have this effect if the windmill is built first, and whatever it's powering second; however, this does not always work reliably.

As with other machines, windmills freeze if the floor under them is natural ice.


Windmills can be synchronized using the method described here.

When collapsing, water wheels do not cause a cave-in and the center tile of the waterwheel causes the tiles below it to be indoors. By building a series of hanging gear assemblies, axles, and waterwheels connected to a single supported gear assembly, you can deconstruct the supported gear assembly to allow all the windmills to start simultaneously.

An old windmill.

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