I drew from a friendly neighborhood fibers major and was able to get my hands on a generic boat shuttle that students use to weave.
From this shuttle, I was able to actually look at the basic mechanics of the object. I could determine that the bobbin rests on a rod that is spring loaded inside the void. I was able to collect measurements from specific attributes that typically were not on manufacturer's websites.
Shortly after receiving the shuttle, I ran into another friendly fibers major and we had a super good talk about improvements that could be made to the shuttle form. Her main gripe was that these shuttles, although rather pricey, felt really cheap and she would love to see well crafted, exotic wooden shuttles. My goal is not to produce a completely wooden shuttle, but I think I could definitely deliver on the exotic wood request. Cocobolo is known to have some "sexy" grain.
Being able to put hands on one of these objects was incredibly helpful. How could I have designed an object I had never touched before?