Unicorn XL Ti Shafts - Read this before you buy.
In my quest to find a durable shaft that will not bend I decided to try some titanium shafts and I purchased a few sets of Unicorns XL Ti shafts.
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After receiving them I attempted to fit 15 of them to my darts, what a nightmare. Every flight I tried to fit did not want to slide into the flight grooves, trying to fit them resulted in mangled flight points that I had to recut with scissors. After destroying a number of flights I managed to get them all attached. At this stage I noticed that the flights seemed to stick out more than  my usual set up with aluminum . I measured the grooves and noticed that they were 10mm in length compared to 15mm for aluminum.
At this stage I was not impressed with the difficulty involved in fitting flights to these shafts.
Now the real fun begins, after throwing a few sets I was surprised and pissed off as to how easily the flights were dislodged. Fitting new flights to these stems was difficult enough, refitting flights that had been damaged by the initial fitting was just about impossible. The result being more flights ending up in the bin.

After 2 hours of using these mongrel shafts I reverted back to my aluminum shafts. I sent an email off to Unicorn to convey my dissatisfaction with these shafts and suggested that they should be withdrawn from the market.

While waiting for a response I tried to work out why the flights were being dislodged so easily and why fitting flights to these stems was so difficult.
I thought maybe the flight groove was a little wider, I measured this and it was similar to aluminum stems at around 0.3mm. I then calculated the surface area of the shaft prongs that is in contact with the fitted flight. This turned out to be around half as much as that on aluminium shafts and is why flights are dislodged so easily.

I still couldn't work out why fitting flights was so difficult, a pair of binoculars provided the answer. By looking through binoculars from the opposite end they become a great microscope. When looking at the shaft prongs with 7 x magnification significant machining burring could be seen on the top of the groove edges, see Fig.2 below. When trying to fit  flights the flight point contacts these burrs and is destroyed making sliding the flight into the grooves very difficult.

Titanium is a very tough metal, on the Mohs hardness scale it has a value of 6.0 compared to Aluminium's 2.75 and Steel's 4.0.
The diagrams below show the profile of a dart shaft, the flight groove edges are very sharp. This sharpness is not a problem with nylon and aluminum shafts due to the softness of these materials. Flight grooves in Titanium shafts is totally different, the groove edges will slice through flights like butter and destroy them.

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Thickness of flights;
Most flights are advertised and sold as being 75, 100 or 150 microns thick, this is a meaningless nominal figure which gives no idea of the actual thickness of a flight.
Most 100 micron flight fins are somewhere between 200 and 300 microns thick. The center core or spline of a flight is around 800 micron in diameter.

With a Titanium shaft inserting flights is like forcing a 800 micron circle into a 300 x 300 micron square with very tough and sharp edges. It is mission bloody impossible without destroying flights.

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I believe Unicorn should immediately revue these shafts and correct the problems shown here. The shafts I have purchased and I am sure thousands of others are in my opinion, "not fit for purpose". Unicorn should offer a full refund on all purchases of these shafts.
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Oh boy!  Larry's gonna have a field day with this!!
- Red

Current Favorite:
Unicorn James Wade Phase 1 (20g)---Short Nylon/Poly Shafts---Marathon/No.6 Shape Flights  

Board:
Winmau Blade 5
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No offence, but didn't you do that post where you complained to Red Dragon about stems not being fully aligned with the dart, and you got free sets back only for you to continue berating them despite their bend over backwards service?

If one product doesn't work, move on to another I say. Makes life a lot easier, and less stressful. Nobody expects to have a microscope laying around somewhere to see every little detail of a stem. I have a lot of stems laying around that I don't use anymore due to issues, I just say 'Maybe it'll be of use another time, or just sell it off'. In my opinion, sell it, make some cash out of it instead of making yourself miserable.
Current Dart in Use: Quantum Darts Paradox 17.5gm
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(01-16-2019, 04:51 AM)LethalEagle Wrote: Only available to view for active members with 5 or more posts click register to join Smile
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I don't care about a refund from Unicorn, I do care about others making the same mistake as I have done. If this post makes others aware of the shortcomings of these shafts is this not a good thing.  Surely this is what this forum is about? I wish someone else had posted an objective review on these shafts before I purchased them.
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well I don't know anything about what the flights are supposed to fit like in stems other than if it doesn't work like I want it to, which is to be easy peasy going in and not so easy coming out, I'll bin the product.
Very impressive display you've put together explaining why the product didn't work for you and I certainly hope that others don't have as much trouble using the shafts as you did.
As for a shaft that won't bend and flights that are easy in not so easy out, try some Cosmo Carbon stems. So far they are pretty nice but I expect they'll fail me at some point, like the rest of all products manufactured, which seems to keep the economy booming and put people to work making more to break...........
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These have been on the market for a long time - I used them well over ten years ago. Expensive and they wreck flights - they're still in my spares box. With the massive range of decent, cheap nylon stems available these days I don't see why anyone bothers with metal stems. The only ones I've liked were the Monster Dragster - and they have screw-in nylon tops. Many dart products still on the market are not fit-for-purpose - just choose ones that work - there's more than enough info on this forum to make good choices.
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(01-16-2019, 05:50 AM)Zazl Wrote: Only available to view for active members with 5 or more posts click register to join Smile
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My point is simple, don't stress about it. But what can I say, as much as I'm impressed by your research and such, we are just dart players, if one thing doesn't work, we move on. Besides, Unicorn knows they are on shaky ground at the moment and I'm sure they'll get up and work on their shortcomings which, might I add, became really apparent after their 2018 launch.

Don't get me wrong, I think your work is stunning, but the menace at times you give has been pretty off putting after that Red Dragon episode.

The only time I used Aluminium is with the Harrows Aztec stem. I liked it when I was using it, but I stopped as it was becoming too much of a soft tip killer, they were wearing and tearing at a quicker rate than with a nylon or polycarbonate stem. I've since gotten back to using Supergrip stems or Pro-Grip stems.
Current Dart in Use: Quantum Darts Paradox 17.5gm
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As said above these stems have been on the market for many years now - at least 10 that I know of. Yes some people have difficulty in getting flights in them, that's the nature of the beast with metal stems, but the vast majority don't. Would you not have thought if Unicorn were aware of any design issue or whatever with these stems that they would already have taken them off the market by now?

Personally I used to use metal stems with no issues, but as my eyesight started to get worse I started having problems getting the flights on them. So what did I do, I changed over to normal nylon stems and the issues went away. I'm not saying that your eyesight is going - obviously it's not if you can see such small differences like you do - but maybe as suggested above you should just put these down to experience and move on to the next product until you find one that you like and suits you.

If you want to settle on a system where you have zero issues getting flights on and off the stems, then either go for an all in one plastic stem/flight combo such as Condor, or if you want them separate (which personally I prefer) then go for the Cosmo Fit Flight system - that comes in either carbon or metal that won't bend, and the flights just push on as well so no need to worry about whether the flight will get mashed up putting it on the stem.
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(01-16-2019, 06:14 AM)LethalEagle Wrote: Only available to view for active members with 5 or more posts click register to join Smile
RegisterPoint taken Mate, I have many shortcomings and I am about as subtle as a brick, just hate seeing mugs like me and others being sold questionable gear.
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(01-16-2019, 05:54 AM)4737 Carlin Wrote: Only available to view for active members with 5 or more posts click register to join Smile
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Didn't realise they have been available for ten years and that they have been wrecking flights since then. Just can't understand why Unicorn would produce a product and continue to sell it.
Hopefully this thread will help members make an informed buying choice.
Cheers.
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Thanks for the info
I was thinking about getting some titanium shafts.
Since I already have trouble getting flights in normal aluminium shafts, I'd rather not.
My board hangs over in a room with a tiled floor that likes to eat nylon shafts for breakfast.
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After posting this information I decided to cut the prongs off one of the shafts to determine if the machining burrs were evident down the internal lengths of the prongs.
Cutting these prongs with a hacksaw showed me just how tough Titanium is and also how much heat the cutting process produced.

All prongs showed machining burrs along one side of each prong, but not as severe as at the flight entry point.

I am convinced that with a few modifications these stems would work. I plan to file a small chamfer across the flight entry grooves to remove the burrs. I will then lightly hone the entry hole to remove the burrs around the rim of this hole. Once this is done and with all burrs at the flight entry point removed combined with the chanfered edge I will cut off the point of a flight making it flat and 4mm wide. This will enable the flight be able to be fitted all the way to the bottom of the flight grooves making dislodgement of the flight much harder.

This would solve the two main problems with these flights.

I am not sure how the grooves in these flights were machined, the prongs showed a circular machining pattern. I am thinking they may have been ground.
The burrs in these shafts ruin a potentially good shaft, the heat generated in the machining process probably contribute to the burring. I am convinced that with a little thought by Unicorn and a modified machining process the problems associated with these shafts could be overcome.

Come on Unicorn, fix this problem for the benefit of us all.
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I have the medium ones. They came with the Unicorn Hero darts. At first I was considering the purchase of the short ones as these medium are too long (longer than common nylons). However, due to the fact I didn't like how flights sat in the prongs and how hard it was to use them I decided not to buy them in the end. Later on I got another set with another Hero darts and when I was selling these darts to a mate I gave him these stems even though I didn't have to because I really didn't expect to use them anymore. I mean I could have two sets of expensive shafts and maybe I could find three stems out of six that wouldn't be bad...

BTW, the Harrows Keramic shafts seem to be the closest match to these and they're lighter and yet durable. In the times when I was using metal stems I prefered the types where flights sit deeper in th stem- like Harrows Savage or Atlantis.

I also used to use the titanim Target Power Shafts Gen 1. The top was made of aluminium and replaceble. I bought a few sets. They either burst in the titanium base or the alu tops were damaged by the sharp thread in that base. I liked them much more though.

Now I've got titanium cosmo shafts. That's a different universe... Still pretty heavy though.
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I use the XL Ti DNA stems that came with my Unicorn Luminas, and I find them easy to put flights in unless they have been used before, have still managed a few robin hood's and bent the tops slightly, but quick pliers to fix and their fine again.

I also bought 2 spare sets new from someone cheap on Facebook as they're normally very expensive to buy new, and these darts only fly nicely for me when using these stems.

Jim
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Am I right in thinking from your first post that you bought 5 sets at $20 a set? Or did you mean you used 1 set on 5 different sets of darts? If its the former does that mean you spent $100 on stems?

I have never had problems putting flights into the XL Ti stems either, I have had a few sets over the years too, I just got a set out my drawer and tried various flights and they all went in easy, some took a fair bit of force to pull back out again also and some came out easy so guess they were different thickness of flight but most of them are 100 micron which seem to be fine. The flights that come with the Lumina go in easy and come out easy though. The 100 micron Nutz flights go in easy but stay in tight as do the the designa flights I tried and as does the Harrows Prime flights.

I just dont like Ti stems for the same reason I dont like alloy stems, if the tines get bent they are no good.
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