So, after a recent trip, wherein I decided I'd give a pair of hiking sticks a try, though they happened to be the natural, formerly alive (read two sticks I found on the trail) version, I decided trekking poles would be a good investment. Add to that, I just purchased a TT Contrail second hand from the classifieds section on here, so it became even more of a requirement.
Being a frugal person of an engineering background, I figured: why not make my own? I didn't feel like paying a fortune, and didn't feel I absolutely needed telescoping of the poles, so I set off making my own Lightrek 3 ripoffs.
Helpful in this endeavor was that a friend of the family is a former golf-club maker, who sort of owes my dad one. My dad is a retired computer systems programmer and as a hobby, takes care of computer problems for friends. This guy had a few pairs of graphite driver shafts lying around collecting dust that he donated to the cause. FREE!
On to the tips, Leki makes tips sold fairly commonly at many outdoors stores for relatively inexpensive. REI down the street sells them for $13, which seemed reasonable enough. I then realized I had my dividend check available, so $13 bucks gets also reduced to FREE!
Onto the grips. I felt in the spirit of keeping with the free thing, I could make my own, and considered it. I found a writeup from another board describing making grips out of "Floam" a kids modeling clay sort of stuff. I decided to forgo that and just purchase a proven piece of gear from Gossamer. I talked to Grant over at GG about dimensions and attachment of their grips and it appeared that they'd work. He recommended they be attached with Gorilla Glue, but it turned out that they went on so tightly with no adhesive that I've decided to leave them simply pressed on. I'm 99% certain they're not going anywhere with how hard they were to get on. Cost: $25 shipped.
So, all-told, my out of pocket cost was $25 bucks. The poles are 48" tip to top, and weigh in at 4.2 ounces. That's 1.7 oz more than the Lightrek 3's but these things are unbelievably stout, and I'm ok with the weight for the cost.