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Is there a 'trick of the trade'

Precise cowl cutting

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Winco Steve30/06/2015 11:33:32
198 forum posts
1 photos

Hi all,

I'm speedily reaching my most dreaded point in model building - cutting the cowl for the IC engine installation !

I've tried many measuring techniques over the years - too many to mention. All result in various degrees of failure. Is there a trick of the trade? I'm sure there must be but, for now, it alludes me. My model Tucano came with a two piece, clear plastic dummy cowl that could be used as a template. This proved very useful. My Wots Wot awaits my next move or, more precisely, my lack of a next move! Is there a method of more accurately gauging where to cut the apertures for cylinder head and exhaust? For the moment I'm in the dark and dread making a 'pigs ear', yet again, of this part of the final building process. Any advice, suggestions (clean ones!) in relation to this task would be most appreciated.

Regards, Winco Steve

Vaughan Wilson30/06/2015 11:39:34
30 forum posts

Have a look in the current Model magazine's issue currently on sale (Workshop Special), page 116 "Cutting a cowl". This should help you

Stevo30/06/2015 11:39:59
2699 forum posts
419 photos

Aha- how much is it worth???? !!!!!

  1. Assemble engine, muffler etc on front of aircraft. NOT the cowl.
  2. using good quality tape, stick a piece of card the height of the fuselage and as long as the engine, plus 1.5". Ensure that it hinges back on the tape line...
  3. Hinge it forward and using scissors, cut a hole in the cardboard for the head, muffler etc.
  4. When done, hinge it back again....
  5. Remove engine - fit the cowl.
  6. Now hinge the cardboard forwards again over the cowl.
  7. The hole in the cardboard is your cutting line!


Edited By Stevo on 30/06/2015 11:43:09

Matt Jones30/06/2015 11:47:35
1186 forum posts
1 photos

What Steve says thumbs up It works well in many scenarios, used it for years.

Craig Carr30/06/2015 11:48:20
688 forum posts
448 photos

Yep I use same procedure as Stevo yes

Winco Steve30/06/2015 12:06:08
198 forum posts
1 photos

Hi Guy's,

Came up trumps again and in such short time! Thanks Steve I get that and will be my method when I attempt my dreaded task!

Thanks too to everyone else who took time to reply.

Regards, Winco Steve

Winco Steve30/06/2015 12:07:53
198 forum posts
1 photos

I've read it again and like most things simple when you know how!

Winco Steve

Stevo30/06/2015 12:09:17
2699 forum posts
419 photos

Well, you know angel

I cut mine with anything to hand - scissors, metal sheers, but to finish off, a small sanding drum in a pillar drill is a great idea!!

Winco Steve30/06/2015 12:15:55
198 forum posts
1 photos

I invested recently in a nice Dremel so that can give me a helping hand! I have just looked in June and July magazine (pp page 116) but can not see anything about cowl cutting. Must have missed it , will look more closely. Unless there is a special 'workshop edition'?

Wots it worth? If you were here Steve I would by you a couple of San Miguels!

Regards, Winco Steve

John Tee30/06/2015 15:58:16
810 forum posts
65 photos

Winco Steve , there is a workshop special on sale at the moment. I bought thinking it was a new magazine I had not seen before. Editted by Graham Ashby who has just given up editting RCM&E.


Winco Steve30/06/2015 16:05:32
198 forum posts
1 photos

Hi John

Thanks for the information. So, Graham has finished his tour as editor. He certainly did a fine job, he will be missed.

I'm in Spain so I probably won't be able to get my hands on that publication but I might make a phone call and see if I can get one sent over.

Cheers, Winco Steve

Frank Skilbeck30/06/2015 19:49:07
4571 forum posts
101 photos

Here's mine cut out using the card method


If using the dremel sander make sure you use a mask or are in a well ventilated area, it creates a lot of fibreglass dust.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator30/06/2015 20:38:33
15748 forum posts
1460 photos

Yes the old cardboard flap method is a winner.

One thing, if you take your Dremel with, say, a 3mm drill bit, then drill holes close togrther all around the area you want to cut out from the cowl - obviously just inside the line! Then use the drill bit on high speed like a milling tool to join the holes together - the middle of the cut out falls out. Then put a sanding drum in the Dremel and just finish off to the line. Easy.


PS Don't forget the mask though - Frank is right, nasty stuff FG.

Area 5130/06/2015 20:58:01
653 forum posts
1 photos

If it is a polished finished cowl, best mask the area to be cut, I use masking tape and trace the pattern / area to be cut on this. It will save any drills dancing off before they cut and also the dremel doing the same.. too keep the edge really neat, it cut through the masking with a scalpel into the surface of the cowl, this should keep the edges neat as the dremel takes away the material....

Winco Steve01/07/2015 08:53:48
198 forum posts
1 photos

Hi all,

Loads of good, practical advice. Thank you. Nice photo Frank!

Winco Steve

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