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.

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    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.
     

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