A horned man and child on the cover of the RImWorld Biotech expansion.

RimWorld: How to Get Steel

You'll want to stockpile plenty of this crucial material for the late game.

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Carley is a professional JP-EN translator and writer currently based in Des Moines, Iowa. She has written hundreds of articles for popular sites such as Siliconera, Gameranx, and Otaquest, and has been playing games nonstop since 1996.

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Reyadh is a writer of fantasy, horror, and science fiction who loves to play video games full of monsters and magic. When he's not scribing unique and unrelenting speculative fiction or slaying demons in virtual worlds, he is writing strategy guides to help others reach their gaming goals.

Key Takeaway

Steel is a crucial ingredient in RimWorld, but it is a limited resource. It can be mined from mountains and large hills and deconstructed from some items during the early game, but these methods are non-renewable.

The best way to gather Steel is by drilling underground while using a ground-penetrating scanner, but this equipment is only viable later in the game. You can use your Electric Smelter to turn Steel Slag Chunks and raider weapons into Steel, and can also purchase it from traders during the mid-game.

In RimWorld, Steel is required to take your colony to the next level. This material is required to craft some of the most important items in the game. Although it’s a limited resource in the wild, it’s possible to use Deep Drills to source renewable Steel later in the game.

Table Of Contents

    Why Is Steel Important?

    Steel is an incredibly useful crafting material in RimWorld; it’s used to create buildings, medical items, armor, weapons, equipment, Mechanoids, and more. Although scarcely found in the wild, ensuring that you have a steady supply of Steel is vital if you want your colony to grow and thrive.

    During the early stages of the game, Wood is the major construction material. However, Steel will become the dominant force sometime during the middle of your playthrough, allowing you to build more futuristic technology.

    As a building material, it provides more durability and protection for your colony when dealing with the elements or incoming raids. Outside of building construction, Steel is also used to build traps and turrets to keep your people safe.

    Don’t use Steel recklessly—especially during earlier parts of the game! Long-term planning is required if you hope to have enough of this precious material for the end game.

    It’s important to keep your colony armed. Steel can be used to craft weapons like swords, grenades, and guns. If you somehow find yourself with a surplus of Steel, you can trade it with visitors for any other items you need.

    Every Way to Get Steel in RimWorld

    The scarcity of Steel can be troublesome later in the game, but thankfully, there are multiple ways to source this rare material. Pick the method that best suits your playstyle; however, some Steel acquisition tactics are better than others.

    Getting Steel From Mountains

    To start, take a look at your map. If you’re lucky enough to have some mountains nearby, you can mine them for Steel. Hover your mouse over the edges of the mountain to search for Compacted Steel.

    After ensuring that you have some of these deposits, head to the Order section and select Mine. Highlight the Compacted Steel and a mining colonist will venture out to work. After waiting a few minutes, you’ll find some Steel sitting on the map next to the mountain.

    Turning Chunks Into Steel

    After destroying certain buildings and raider’s drop pods, you’ll see some Steel Slag Chunks on the map. If you have an Electric Smelter at your disposal, use it to transform these Chunks into precious Steel.

    This will be most useful towards the middle or end of the game, as crafting an Electric Smelter takes a fair amount of Steel. Additionally, you can also use your Smelter to turn raider weapons into Steel.

    A copper Electric Smelter in RimWorld.

    Deconstructing Items to Get Steel

    If you’re desperate for Steel earlier in the game, you can deconstruct items made of Steel to get their raw materials. To do this, highlight an item and select Deconstruct in the Order menu. This can save the day if you decided to spend your Steel on frivolous things!

    Mechanoids and the remains of crashed ships can be disassembled to gain Steel, but doing so is time-consuming and often not worth the effort.

    Buying Steel From Bulk Goods Traders

    After building a Communications Console and Orbital Trading Beacon, you can trade with nearby ships. Bulk Goods Traders will typically have some Steel for sale, though their quantity is often low.

    This shouldn’t be your main mode of collecting Steel, but it’s worth keeping an eye out passively. Visitors typically carry between 200-300 Steel, while orbital traders carry between 500-800.

    Drilling Underground to Get Steel

    Underground drilling is the most effective way to find Steel. This is a late-game venture, as you’ll require electricity, a deep drill, ground penetrating scanners, and a colonist to operate this powerful machine. Each scan can yield a deposit of 12,000 Steel, and each deposit is renewable.

    After connecting the drill to a power source, the ground penetrating scanner will research an area with deposits. This area will be highlighted in green. Select the drill and place it in the green area to start drilling. Although this method takes time, it’s well worth it.

    Deep drilling to get more Steel in RimWorld.

    Deep drills require 100 Steel themselves and can only be constructed once the Deep drilling research project has been completed. Ground-penetrating scanners also require the completion of the Ground-penetrating scanner research project and 150 Steel.

    You won’t use much Steel during the early hours of RimWorld, but it will quickly become a main focus later in the game. Cloth and Wood are well and good, but your colony will need much more sturdy materials to reach the stars. Start stockpiling this tough material ASAP!