Custom darts...you might want to try it!

Discussion in 'Articles' started by VanO, May 5, 2019.

  1. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Many of you know that my background, prior to making pizza, was in the golf industry. I was a professional instructor, custom fitter, and alteration and repair technician. Now, my psychosis of choice is darts. Just like many golfers, we “dartists” are on a quest for the Holy Grail! The implement of our game that has the perfect balance, consistent flight, and always goes where you’re looking!
    Some of the long time members on Dartplayer speak of custom darts work with a fellow named Jeff Pickup. Personally, I never imagined the chance of having one of my concepts come into being. Thanks to a recent returnee to our site, kennyG, I had that chance and now have the darts.

    06EC9C19-A944-456C-AD9B-78B5C8DBC066.jpeg

    In its most basic concept there really isn’t much to the dart, just as there isn’t much to a golf club. They are simple tools, for simple purposes. Club head , shaft and handle or barrel, shaft and flight. Some want heavy some want light, some want back or center or front balanced, some long some short, thick or thin. Perhaps the greatest ball striker ever to play golf, Canadian Moe Norman, liked his clubs heavy. In golf clubs there is total weight and there is swing weight or fulcrum weight. The latter of which is more the perceived weight of the head relative to the weight at the handle end. That is what Moe liked a bit “heavy.” When someone asked him why he referred to a carpenter he once met who insisted on a heavy hammer with a thicker handle because it took him less effort and he bent fewer nails. Player of these games, our games, put a lot of thought into the minute details of the their tool but, ultimately, in my humblest of opinions, we play best with what feels the best.
    My apologies for what seems like a wide digression. The point of all of that was to shed a little thought to what we all like best in a dart and why. It’s also important to recognize how that choice changes or may need to change based on our evolution as a player. That can be seen in the evolution of Phil Taylor’s darts.
    Thanks to @kennyg I got the opportunity to try to conceive of what I thought was my perfect dart. We communicated back and forth until he really “got” what my vision for the dart was. Soon after prototypes were here and I was tossing them. Since these were going to be brass barrels, looking for a bit more mass we used a core weighting system. I had some supplies shipped to him, and after a few more hiccups on the machining and communication side Kenny was practicing on the lathe again. Before you knew it the barrels were here. I have been tossing them since!
    Are they my perfect dart you might ask? My answer is yes, maybe and no! I am certainly more comfortable with them than nearly all other darts I have. They have a relatively straight 5/16(about 8mm) diameter so, they are thick enough to be easy to hold and thin enough for confident grouping. They have a combination of knurling and grooves for different finger placements. Kenny equipped them with conversion points so one day I could even use them for soft tip. That was also a convenient way to handle the core weighting system. As I have them set up the fully suited weight is 26g.
    They have a very balanced flight. I pay close attention to my darts in flight and I notice almost no pitch and yaw, even when my rhythm is off. I wanted to embed a video here but I’m struggling with the file size. I’ll post another time or perhaps in the media section.
    All in all I am extremely happy with these. The have a familiar look in the brass barrels with the inertia of a heavier tungsten. I’m still learning how to use them and equip them for best performance. I strongly recommend this kind of experience for others on the forum. It is interesting to get to know your tools from a more primal level.
     
  2. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Nice write up! Rather enjoyed it.

    For the video, I use Movie Maker in windows and upload to youtube then embed here. Pretty easy and the MM prog will reduce file size.
     
  3. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Thanks Erik. I feel there is more to say but I think it’s from Kenny’s side. I’d like to hear about some of what it was like from his perspective. I feel like I had the easiest part!
     
    Erik likes this.
  4. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    As I have told VanO I'm taking a sabbatical from dart making in order to catch up on some other projects and now some life things have gotten in the way. First let me say it was easy working with VaO despite a few communication break downs. As a hobby machinist and at best a novice darter trying to make a set of darts was a little more complicated and I wound up making three sets plus some aborted attempts before I got something acceptable from my point of view. There are 5 main operations I used to make the darts Turning, Drilling, Threading, Tapering and knurling/grooving. In my case I only have a manual lathe so all these operations involve manual changes of tools, measuring and set ups for the order of operations. VanO's darts are about the extent of what I would want to make as far as complexity of design it's simply too time consuming for what I could comfortably charge to make a set and keep them in tolerance. Sourcing materials can be somewhat difficult and expensive especially if you are not buying in large quantities. Making or buying tools for the job is also somewhat problematic for instance you all know that the standard thread for shafts and removable tips is 2BA, well as you may guess they are neither an imperial or standard metric size, leave it to the Brits. So where am I now ? I don't know. But let me say it was a fun learning experience and I am going to keep throwing little arrows it lets me work out everyday frustrations no matter how good I get.
     
    VanO likes this.
  5. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    Just don’t go on some long sabbatical from the forum! ;)
     
    Erik likes this.
  6. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    I'll be hanging out for sure.
     
  7. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    I did have a set made and it did not work out for me:

    Why:
    How do you determine where the balance point will be on a custom drawn dart?
    I designed a dart sent it to get made and when I got it back it was front heavy resulting in a horrible dart to throw (for me)
    I thought the maker could drill from the front and back to achieve my balance point ... I was wrong. He said design dictates balance point SO...

    Is there a way or software out there to calculate a design drawing?

    I have made adjustments, thinking this new design will be right. I would really want to know before plugging down another 100 bucks

    thoughts?

    Here is the latest design attached but I have no idea if balance will be where I want it
    GR
     

    Attached Files:

    Erik likes this.
  8. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    He's wrong. My personal dart is drilled out to give both the desired weight as well as the desired balance. A good custom dart maker knows how to do this...I'll try to find a pic of this but the idea came from Vox Darts model the spirit which is completely hollow and you place different metal plugs inside it to get the weight you want.
     
    bulldozer likes this.
  9. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    Ya, I agree. I found it weird he said that. So now he wants me to pay an additional 30 bucks to have his cad guy draw it and redesign to give me my balance point..... geeze
     
  10. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    Who made your darts from your design? Look at my drawing .... not sure why this guy can't give me this with the balance point
     

    Attached Files:

  11. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    this is what the guy told me:

    GR,
    With steel tip darts material is only removed from the shaft end to reduce the weight, the hole at the point is too small.
    Soft tip darts can be done at either end.
    There limitations even in the custom market as to what can be achieved, there are not infinite options.
     
  12. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Originally Jeff Pickup made my darts (he's since passed away sadly) but Red Dragon took the design and improved it for me and kept the concept (and made a very similar one that we sold for several years as a 'Team SEWA' dart and later a 'Refuel' dart.

    Saying it can't be done is saying he doesn't know what he's talking about.
     
    bulldozer likes this.
  13. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    ya
    I think I am just going to cancel the order at this point. Do you know anyone that could do my design correctly?

    Jeff was a great guy I had many conversations with him at many tournaments where he set up his lathe and worked away.
    He was a great guy sorry to hear he passed.
     
    Erik likes this.
  14. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    @kennyg did the darts with me but he is taking a hiatus from dart machining. He may be able to shed a bit of light on the topic though. The dart we did together is as @Erik mentioned entirely hollow and uses the same weight plugs as the Ultracore by Unicorn. It is true that removing the plug for the shaft take away from the tail end of the barrel but it is only maybe 4mm worth of material and then you add a longer point that shift back the other way. A creative mind can solve this problem. From experience in both golf(expert) and darts(not as expert) there is a tendency to nitpick details that sometimes do, but oftentimes don’t, matter as much as we may think.
     
    Erik likes this.
  15. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    well I do not make darts for a living but it would seem to me, the material could be removed kinda like the file I just attached and it would be enough areas to manipulate to get balance and weight goal of 20.5
     

    Attached Files:

    Erik likes this.
  16. Erik

    Erik Site Owner Staff Member Site Admin Site Moderator

    Yes you could do that very thing and if really worried, fill it with epoxy (some do this, I did not and some 13 years later my darts are still fine)
     
  17. VanO

    VanO Moderator Site Moderator

    That’s what I meant by creative mind! When Kenny did our darts he sent me brass rods that could be substituted in the core of the dart(ultracore uses either tungsten or polymer 3g and .5g respectively) as an in-between weight option. It seems to be all about what the weight of the bar is and then calculating how much the machining removes from where on the outside of the dart.
     
  18. kennyg

    kennyg Member

    Ok so I have been mulling this post over for the last 2 days and will jump in. First let me say that is a very nice CAD rendition of your design nicely detailed with all your requirements.
    You said that the machinist said that design dictated what parameters could be meet. I agree with that entirely. I also agree with the others that you can twink things here and there to achieve what you want BUT!!! that changes the design you have submitted. Unfortunately your fabricator /machinist miscalculated your sensitivity to the balance point but must have meet your other parameters adequately. In order to put parameters on a design you must know all the variables like density of the tungsten alloys, how one design element will affect another etc. etc etc. This is the reason I have decided not to pursue custom darts the time to create a dart of your expectations would be worth much more than the $100 you apparently spent IMHO. Do like Erik did take it to a dart manufacturer they have the engineers, the software the CNC machines to make the decisions if your design will work as is or needs revision. In your defense your guy should have run the design by his expert that is his design guy to see if it was feasible, let me emphasize feasible vs doable before making your darts. and advised you accordingly.
     
  19. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member

    anybody use CAD to find the center of gravity on a dart design?
    using CAD prior to manufacturing can tell you where CG will be but I have not used it.
    Anyone fluid in the CAD program that could do this?
     
  20. Gilbert Verner

    Gilbert Verner New Member



    Yes, I agree the balance point was important to me and I guess getting into this process was new to me. thank you for your feedback and direction. I did find this option with another dart maker. 3D CAD Modelling Drawing Service - Custom Made Darts
     

Share This Page