The word tungsten means "heavy stone" in Swedish. Tungsten has been used for the production of darts since the early 1970's because it is twice as dense (heavy) as brass and a dart made from tungsten will be half the size of a brass equivalent or other Steel Tip Darts. This means it is easier for a player to achieve close grouping and score the maximum 180!
As 100% tungsten is very brittle, it is necessary for the manufactures to create an alloy i.e. mixing tungsten with other metals mainly nickel and other attributes such as iron and zinc. All these ingredients are mixed together placed in a mould, compressed under many tonnes of pressure and heated in a furnace to over 3,000°C. The mould is then opened and the resulting 'billet' removed. Billets are made in different lengths and diameters, according to the final desired shape of the finished dart.
There are 4 general categories of Tungsten Darts.
1. 50% to 70% Tungsten-
2. 80% Tungsten - (popular with new league players)
3. 90% Tungsten- (high density, will hold up well, feel better to throw.)
4. 95% to 97% Tungsten - (high density, thinner, resist wear, feel better to throw. The very best for grouping)
Tungsten prices have gone up in recent years, raising the price of quality darts sets. However, in order to offer "bargain" prices, many sporting good stores & discount outlets now sell cheap "Tungsten Type Darts" that actually contain only a tiny trace of tungsten in them. Many of these cheap Steel Darts are about the same density as brass (or less), but cost quite a bit more. Always look for the percentage of tungsten on the package.
Like Brass, this is a fairly dense (heavy) metal, is relatively inexpensive, and is easy to machine. However, Nickel/Silver is harder and therefore more durable, which prevents the machined grip from wearing away as rapidly. Otherwise, similar to Brass Darts, and popular with budget-minded beginning darters. (Note: There is no actual Silver content; this Nickel and Tin alloy is often used for the moving parts of silver jewelry and for trophies.)
The least expensive type of metal dart. Perfect for beginners learning darts and the games.
Brass is a fairly dense (heavy) metal, composed mostly of copper and zinc. It is relatively inexpensive, and easy to machine. However, it is so soft that the machined "grip" may quickly wear down, changing the "feel" of the dart. Brass Darts are commonly mass-produced on automated lathes, so the quality and consistency of the machining may vary considerably. Brass darts in South Africa are often used as "house darts" due to low price.
How Darts are made.
In this short video you get to see just how darts are made.