Dart Shafts / Dart Stems
A Dart Shaft serves to hold the flights away from the center of mass of the darts barrel. The shaft acts as a lever to make the flight more effective at resisting sideways motion. A longer shaft will produce about the same effect as a larger flight. There are a huge range of different shafts that differ in design and colour, but all serve essentially this same purpose. There isn’t a best shaft or flight to use as this is personal preference. Have a look at the Dart Barrels that are available at Darts shops in SA.
Darts Shafts Types:
Plastic Dart Shafts.
Inexpensive, and available in many colors, but they tend to break fairly easily. They are good shafts for beginners but when you start throwing tight groups you will start to break a lot of shafts. Materials used for making plastic shafts are usually polycarbonate or nylon.
Composite Darts Shafts.
Composite type shafts such as the Alamo or Quiver, have plastic bases that thread into the dart. These shafts are combined with aluminum or a nother metal alloy tops used to hold the flight. Composite shafts are excellent shafts, quite durable and will not vibrate loose as easily as solid aluminum shafts.
Aluminium Dart Stems.
Aluminium stems are more rigid and durable than Plastic or Composite Shafts, they come in many colorful styles and some with decorative engraved stripes, flutes, or spirals. Theym ay tend to vibrate loose, especially on heavy darts but can be overcome by using a rubber o-ring. When used with thicker types of flights such as the Dimplex or Nylon flights the slots may need to be pried open slightly in order for the flights to fit. Use a dart tool or thin knife blade to open them up but be carefull not to over bend them when opening them up. Will normally bend instead of breaking when hit; just straighten for more use.
Spinning Dart Shafts.
A variety of shafts are now available that will allow the flight to turn out of the way when struck by another dart. Spinning shafts do not improve the flight of the dart through the air, but they do allow tighter groupings by letting the flights align next to each other. Because these shafts can move the flights out of the way of other darts they greatly reduce torn flights and "robin-hooded" shafts.
Short Shafts VS Long Shafts.
Short shafts tend to move the centre of gravity of the dart towards the front end of the barrel. For good throwing most dart throwers hold their darts at this point so if you hold your darts at the front end of the barrel the short shafts might be best suited to your throw. Long shaft will effectively move the centre of gravity of the dart towards the back, so if you throw your darts holding them at the back of the dart a long shaft my suit you better than short shafts.
This guide is by no means right or wrong but it acts only as a guide to help you when starting out. When choosing a dart, it is best to try it first. As there are not many dedicated dart shops around it isn’t always possible to throw them in the store at a practise board. If you know anyone that plays darts ask them if they will allow you to have a throw with their darts, this way you are more likely to find a weight and length that suits you. Choosing a shaft and flight to go with the dart can be as equally as difficult as choosing a dart.
Spinning Dart Shafts.
Have a look at the different spinning shafts available and the pros and cons of using them.