I recently got the Londinium distribution tool, and it really is effective. I had tried toothpicks, skewers, etc., and then the tool provided with my Monolith (a single metal pin, no sharp point). The tool that came with the Monolith was sort of 'randomly effective' in the sense that I could tell things were better using it than not, but it was not consistent.
So I sprung for the Londinium puppy, and it is extremely consistent and more effective than any other approach I have tried. In every case, the drops form evenly, simultaneously across the bottomless portafilter/basket.
One thing that may not be apparent by just looking at photos of the tool is that the wires are thin and flex quite a bit as you stir. So when creating one's own version of the tool, rigid wire stock might not yield the same results. Or it might. But if you are trying to 'clone' a version of the tool, thin wire stock that flexes in use would be a better starting point.
In terms of value for the buck, though, I would say that the Londinium tool is a surprisingly good value in case folks are not inclined to make their own tool. I would say it and the LevTamp are two of the three best purchase I have made in the last few years, the other being the Monolith Flat. So for around forty bucks, the Londinium puppy is worthwhile.