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  1. #1

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    Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I've started a scratch build of a craft air cowboy. I'm not sure if it belongs with the kit builds or the scratch builds, but since I'm working off of a kit plan I thought this would be the better forum to post in. I've always seemed to start with the wing, not sure why but always have. This is my 1st built up balsa plane in 30 years and I've just restarted the hobby in June, thanks to my wife. The wing is a constant cord so that makes it pretty easy. I dabbed a very small amount of hot melt to the template and put it on the 1/8" balsa sheet and then cut out the basic form of the rib leaving a bit of excess. I then used the template to finish the form using my table mounted router with piloted edge trim bit. This technique worked out very well and I only lost 1 or 2 ribs to tear outs. The spar is made from a piece of clear cedar siding recovered from an old farm house.
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  2. #2

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I've chosen the semi-symmetrical airfoil for the build. I decided build the TE out of single piece of 3/8 x 1 1/4" pre-shaped balsa. I marked extension lines for the aileron cut outs and the cut out that is centered over the fuselage. I used a small framing square to make sure the ribs were set plumb on the spar. Once I had all of the W3 ribs set in place I installed the leading edge which I had formed using a form made with bondo & a foam profile & emery cloth. The wing uses an I beam type structure for strength. Once all of the ribs were in place I proceded to place 1/8" balsa in between the ribs to join the lower spar to the upper.
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  3. #3
    smithcreek's Avatar
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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    looks good. what does the finished plane look like?
    For a kit you are, and to a kit you shall return.

  4. #4

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    No pic's, in fact the biggest reason I'm trying to share my build is because there is so little info on the model. I was given the plans by a friend who thought it would make a great "next step" in the progression plane. I've been offered a .25 engine for it but it's such a simple build I'm tempted to lighten the fuse and go electric instead. I've finished the tail group now too. For the tail group I simply followed the layout on the plan, nothing too fancy, just put down & cut to the diagrams. The LE's on the stabilizer & fin needed to be rounded so I made a block sanding "router" using a 3/8" cove bit and a couple of peices of 80 grit emery cloth. For the very front piece of the fin I used a round rasp that matched the profile that I had sanded into the main part of the fin. I also cheated a bit and used my disc/belt sander & mitre to get the angles right for most parts of the tail group. Other than the lead in part, the angle of the LE of the fin is 30*, the TE of the fin & LE of the rudder are 23* and the TE of the rudder is 15*. I'm still not completely done the wing yet, I'm not quite sure how I'm going to join the 2 wing halves together yet. I'm also considering making the tip blocks out of beaded foam & a light coat of epoxy for strength in an attempt to save a bit of weight.
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  5. #5

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Moving on to the fuse, (while I wait for my 'glass to finish the wing) The fuselage sides on the cowboy are supposed to be 1/8" plywood front to rear. It's really tempting to do the 1/8 ply to the back of the root of the wing and then carry the remainder of the fuselage to the tail with some 1/16" ply. For this to work, I would do a lap joint on the 1/8" ply with a 45* angle in an effort to create extra strength. Just not sure what to do yet. Anyway, I photocopied the original plan, taped it together and I'm going to use it as template for the first fuse side. For the 2nd fuse side, I'm going to cut out the rough shape and use a router piloted laminate trim bit and use the 1st side as a template. This way both fuse sides are identical, right down to the cutting mistakes!
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  6. #6

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I'm watching, too see what a craft air cowboy looks like when finished. So far looks pretty good.
    Humilitas occidit superbiam.

  7. #7

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    After taping the template together I grabbed the trusty ol' Elmers spray on glue and applied a small amount in 4 spots and attached it to a 12x48" piece of 1/8" ply. I cut the 1st piece out on the bandsaw and sanded to the final shape with my bench mounted disc sander. Once I was done with that I cut out the other side making it slightly larger than the 1st and then I dabbed hot melt in 4 spots and stuck the sides together. I did this so that I can just use the piloted laminate trim bit and get the 2 sides to match - mistake for mistake . As you can see, I didn't have the bit quite high enough and I missed a bit. Not too much of a problem, I just trimmed the wee bit off with a razor blade.
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  8. #8

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    looking good russ
    dont do it electric lol this plane needs a gas engine

  9. #9

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Gotcha Piper I've already cut it with the full 1/8" ply sides. Was really tempted to do a lap joint behind the wing root to save a bit of weight. As it is, this planes rated for a .19 - .40 The recommended engine is a .25 with the flat wing.

  10. #10

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I've come to a bit of a slow down lately, I've run out of parts! I want to have the servo's & fuel tank in hand to get the locations right when I do the fuse & finish the wings. I did take the time to join the 2 wing panels. I did a couple of things here, since this is a scratch build and I'm not a "profili" owner - the 2 innermost ribs were by guess and by golly. Certainly exposing my lack of skill & patience. The wing joiner / reinforcments are 1/8" birch ply. I drill holes in them with a sharpened stick pin so I could locate the reinforcements on the LE & TE. I also cut a "way too big" access holes in W1, W2 & the 1st W3 so that it would be easier to run the electrical to the aileron servo's out on the wing. The wing still needs to be sheeted and servo bays added for the ailerons. There's also the small matter of hinging the ailerons and I haven't received the hinges yet. The wonders of small town living. I added the engine info, this plane is very electrifiable as built!
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  11. #11

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Maybe I misread but are you making the fuse sides out of standard birch 5ply? If so, wow.... that's really gonna be heavy.

    Its been along time since I've seen a Cowboy but I seem to recall the fuse sides being Lite-Ply. If you can't get ahold of lite ply you could use 1/8" Luan ply or door skins from the Home Depot.

    Mike
    Balsa USA brother #61

  12. #12

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    The plans call for 1/8" poplar, I don't have poplar - it's either birch aircraft ply or hobby that's the choices I have. The guy that lent me the plans, says that the birch will be fine, we'll see what the AUW ends up at I guess. The worst thing that'll happen is I'll have to build a 2nd fuse.

  13. #13

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Not to belabor an issue but Poplar is "light-ply". You should be able to order it through a hobby shop or through a place like Balsa USA.

    Or "light planes fly better" so another option would be to use balsa with 1/16" birch ply "doublers" in the engine, fuel tank, wing saddle area. Modify the fuse formers for any changes in fuse side thickness.

    Whatever you decide, good luck with your build.

    Mike
    Balsa USA brother #61

  14. #14

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Well my own thinking was to do a lap joint behind the wing root and use 1/16" aircraft ply from that point on. As I said before, if it works out that it's a problem, I build another fuse. It's not the end of the world.

  15. #15

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    the ply you are using will be fine
    merv built his with door skin ply if i remember right

  16. #16

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Moving along, I've been working on this only sporadically since I have another bigger community project (website) on the go. I did take the time to cut the hinge slots for the tail feathers, so now with a bit of filling & sanding they're ready to be covered. I've also located & cut the fuselage for the semi-symmetrical wing as per the blue prints. I'll follow up with some pic's later, as I missed doing photos' of the fuse operation.

  17. #17

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    As promised, here's some more pics of the build. Not really much to see, I have cut the slots for the hinges and done the test fits and they're pretty much ready for covering & making the hinges permanent. To get the hinge slots centered I just set my adjustable miter square for half the thickness of the control surface, made a slice, flipped the surface over, sliced again. This gave me a centered slit, even if the miter wasn't set perfectly. Then I cut out the "meat" in the middle with a modified hack saw blade. I'm making some progress on the fuse, but not having done a lot of full fuse's, I'm not sure as to how to proceed and get everything plumb & true. I cut the wing mounting area out and then attached the 1/8x3/4 wing doublers. To have them match perfectly, I again make use of my router & edge trimming bit so all of my mistakes line up perfectly One problem I came across, was making sure the entire fuse side was the correct height for the trim bit bearing. It turned out to be a really easy fix, I just set the other fuse half on the table and let the work piece ride on it. Here's to hoping my pic's aren't too confusing!

  18. #18

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Okay, I think it's time for a teaser I stuck the pieces together last night with a couple of clamps & gravity I'm going to be making this plane a tail dragger. So there's a couple of minor mod's I have to make to the plan.

  19. #19

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    slllooooowwwwlllllyyyyy moving along. For the tip blocks I decided to laminate 2 pieces of 1/2" balsa plank together and shape to the profile of the wing again using a template & router. Next I ran it through the table saw with the blade @ somewhere between 41-43*. 1" wide isn't quite thick enough to catch the full radius of the tip though. I should have added a piece of 3/8". I should also mention, it's EXTREMELY important to make use of sacrificial push blocks for this operation. Kind of tough to run a Tx without thumbs!


  20. #20

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    It's been about a month since I started working on this project. I'm not rushing through it. Just doing a bit here and there. I've installed the belly pan and turtle deck. Now I'm doing a bit of sanding as I ponder the location of the motor & servo's. I still need to build the battery / fuel tank cover and install the rubber band posts for the wing. I'm tempted to change the plan a bit and use wing bolts instead. I'll try and post some pic's of my progress tomorrow. The house boss has taken over the computer that I download my photo's to.

  21. #21
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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Boy, it's great to see somebody building a Cowboy! Sure brings back memories, as my first low wing trainer was the CraftAir Scout. Fantastic little ship that taught me a lot. If anyone has any Scout photos or plans, please PM me or start a thread on that. Will attach a photo of it I found. I put Monokote Chrome on the bottom of the wing so it had a rather odd color scheme.
    Tiger Flyer #49

  22. #22

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I went through my old Craft-Air "Butterfly II" kit ('91), and found a flier for the "Cowboy" trainer. Apparently the Cowboy 2 has a semi-symmetrical airfoil and the Cowboy 1 has a flat bottom airfoil.
    Wanted: Smarter thumbs...

  23. #23
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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    CanDo... Nice brochure! Thanks for posting that classic ad. My scout was only 50 inches in span if I remember right.

    Russ... Those pics reminded me how strong the wings were. I think the top/bottom spars were 1/8 by 3/8 basswood with sheer webs all the way out. Made for a super light and super strong wing. I've been using that same concept for decades and realize now I stole it from CraftAir. What engine will you mount on it?
    Tiger Flyer #49

  24. #24

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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    I'm going to try an old OS .20 with an 9x5 APC 1st. If that doesn't work out maybe a .25 of some sort, the guy that recommended this, he had one back in the day and tried it with a .40 he said was "a bit of a handful" and since I'm a beginner he thought that engine would be a really bad idea Anyway, moving on. I'm going to be doing the batt/fuel tank cover today and my mentor is going to help me with landing gear. Sounds like we're going to be using flat aluminum for that part of the affair. Yes the CCII is the semi-symmetrical wing and that's the one I've chosen. Not sure if that was a good idea but that's what I've done. On the turtle deck, a bit of history. I was given a half built Carl Goldberg Gentle Lady in the summer and I noticed that the rear of the turtle deck has the wood grain running cross ways. I questioned an experienced builder about this and his thinking was that it was to provide improved gluing surfaces to for the tail feathers. I kind of suspect this is right, so I've decided to copy this technique on this plane. I'll trim the excess off once the epoxy has dried.

  25. #25
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    RE: Craft Air Cowboy Build

    Russ, The balsa on the tail feathers mounting area might not be strong enough. Nothing wrong with using a piece of the lite ply back there and epoxy it to the triangle stock and fuse sides. You could even put the tail feathers on with blind nuts and screws to make it removable in the future. ( If I remember, my Scout had lite ply back there.)

    Also, the decking balsa is cross grain so that it is stronger in compression. Sure looks like a fun project.
    Tiger Flyer #49


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