Beginner tutorial: How to create vintage car wheel #PART 1 – rim

June 5, 2013

In this tutorial I will show you method, which I used to create wheels in my previous project Lada Niva. You need to download side photo of wheel from here. This is beginner tutorial, so every step has image and is described as detailed as possible.

Final result:



We need to check dimension of image, so we can create later plane with exact sides ratio.


Create plane with sides exactly as image you downloaded.


Move it to 0 on y and z axis and for example 30 units on x axis (this is because our wheel will be in center, so it could not collide with it).


Now hit M key to open material editor. Drag standard material into the view and double-click it. Click on the square next to diffuse color as shown on image bellow. This will set diffuse texture.



Then select Bitmap from Standard maps and browse for your download image.



Right click your material and tick “Show Shaded Material in Viewport” and “Show Realistic Material in Viewport”. This will make texture visible in viewports. From default they are not visible.


Select your object, right-click your material and click “Assign Material to Selection”. This will apply material on selected object.


Set your viewports to “Shaded” and “Edged Faces” by right clicking on the third set of brackets.  You should be now able to see textured plane


Try to align center of wheel with scene center by moving plane, if it doesn’t.


Now create tube with 24 sides  and  1 Height and Cap segments. Try to align it like I did on picture below.

We chose 24 sides for reason. As you can see above, the rim has 12  holes and 24 is nicely divided by 12.  


Tube is primitive object and before we can edit it, we need to convert it to poly. Right click tube and choose convert to Editable Poly.


Now change selection method to edges and select all edges as is illustrated on image bellow. Hit button Connect. This will make edgeloop in center of these selected edges



This is how it looks like after Connect tool.


Set selection method to Polygon and select half of our tube. We need to delete this, so hit delete key.



Now we need to add Symmetry modifier. Click drop down menu above Editable Poly modifier and select Symmetry. Choose axis which will make your tube exactly as before, if there is big gap between mirrored copy and original, clock on + before Symmetry modifier and select mirror. You can move this mirror by move tool, and you can also Flip it.

Now select edges like on image below and hit connect.


Now select edges like before, but only left half. Now instead of hitting connect you click the little window icon next to connect. This will open dialog box with connect options. Adjust the last option so the new edge loop is roughly as on image below and hit green tick button


Now select vertices as on image below and scale it down little bit as shown on image.


Select one edge as I did on image below and hit Loop. This will case, that whole edge loop will be selected.


Now move the whole edgeloop along x-axis to get similar model as I got.


When we have selected this loop, find Crease attribute and set it to 0,8. This will prevented from excessive smoothing of edgeloop, when will be smoothing mesh.


Now when we click our Symmetry modifier it should look like this. Outer part of our rim is done.


We need to create another tube, which will be inner part of our rim. Create tube like I did on picture below. Don’t forget to set sides to 24.


Now we must align our inner part with outer part.

  1. Select inner part
  2. Click “Align” button on main icon toolbar
  3. Select outer part
  4. Set aligning  by X and Y position and choose center, for both


Now, when we have inner part perfectly alignes, we can select it and pres ALT + Q which will isolate our selected object, and it will be only object visible. This will help us, because outer part could obstruct aour view. This way we have clear view on our inner part. When you hit ALT + Q again, it will make visible all objects.


Select all polygons, except front. You can do this by selecting polygon selection, ale make selection as illustrated below. Uncheck “Ignore Backfacing”, so you can select polygon, which are facing away from you. When you have selected those polygons, just hit Delete key.


This is what you should get.
Now, Choose Border selection and select outer border. This will be the fun part.
You can easily extrude border/edges with holding SHIFT before making transformation (move, scale, rotate).


So hold SHIFT key and scale border little bit up. Then move  extruded border little bit to left so you can something like on picture below.


Continue extruding and moving borders until you get something like on picture below.


We need just 1/12 of the actual rim, so we are going to delete rest of it. Select every polygon except 1/12, look at picture below.


This is what you should get.


Now create 6-sided cylinder. This will be used to “cut” hole in our rim. Size does not matter, we will be scaling it down/up later.


Now scale it down/up so it 1/3 wide of our segment. Align it with center and rotate by same degree as are faces which intersects with it. Make sure it intersects with our rim segment. Check picture below and make sure, you have something similar.


Now select our rim segment and select from Compound Objects a Boolean.


Choose Subtraction (A-B), click on Pick Operand B and then click on our cylinder.


This is what you should get. Don’t worry if you have edge on top or don’t have edge on bottom and vice versa. This depends how exactly you aligned your cylinder and results can vary. As you can see, I aligned bottom precisely but not top. We will fix this later, so don’t worry.


Make sure, that bottom and top vertex of our cylinder hole are not double vertices. Simply drag your selection region across that vertex and it should tell you how many vertices are selected. In my case I don’t have double vertices so it says “Vertex 28 Selected”. If you do have multiple vertices, select them both, and find Collapse tool. This will merge them and you are good to go.

I also drew red lines where cuts will be needed. So select Cut tool and cut it.

36 37 38

This is what you should have by now. Our segment is done.

39With our segment done we can now complete inner part of rim. We will be using Array tool.

First of all, convert this segment to Editable Poly .
Make sure you are in same view as I do, otherwise my settings for Array will not work.

So select our segment a fire up Array tool.

  1. Click on right arrow in Rotate section and type 360 in Z column. 360 because we need whole circle.
    (You might ask why Z column. Look at picture below. You can see there is Y an X axis displayed under our segment. But we need it to rotate around Z axis, which is not visible from this view. )
  2. Select Type of Object to Copy
  3. And select 1D count to 12. Remember our segments is 2 polygons wide and our whole rim is 24, so 24/2 equals 12.
  4. And click OK, it’s done.


Now we have almost finished inner part.


Now we need to make one piece from these segments. Select one of the segments and click Attach tool. Attach other segments with it.




Select one edge from each intersecting side segments.  Refer to  picture below.


Now click Loop tool.


Now press down CTRL key and click on vertex selection method. This will convert our edge selection to vertex selection.

You can see we have 240 vertices selected.


When we Weld intersecting vertices, we get only half. This removed double vertices.


And it’s almost done.


This is optional step.

We can add Turbosmooth modifier to see how it looks like smoothed.

48 49


We also need to add some width to this rim, because now it is only face profile without any depth.

That’s what Shell modifier is for. Set inner amount to 0,2 and outer to 0. There is 0,3 inner amount in image, but I think 0,2 is just fine.


Select all holes with border selection and set Crease to 0,8.


Now select one edge from center of our inner part and hit Ring selection.


Now hit Connect.


Do the same with lower polygons. This is what you should get


Select polygons like on picture. This will be our bumps.


Move them little bit to the left along X axis. Refer to picture below.


Select inner border and set Crease to 1.


And this is result with turbosmooth ON.


There is a gap between inner and outer part as you can see. Don’t worry we will fix it with one easy step.


Select outer border and Extrude it with Scale tool. Then move newly created border little but along X axis. Something like picture below.


Now select our old border. Select one edge from it and hit Loop.  now with selected whole edgeloop set Crease to 1.0. This will prevent this edges to be excessively smoothed.


This is our result.


I noticed that it is too round after smoothing, so select edgeloop like on the picture and set Crease to 1.


Then select other 2 edgeloops, refer to image. Set Crease to 0,8.


This is our result, It is almost done.


Now last thing. Screws.

Create new Cylinder with 6 sides.


Convert it to Editable Poly and select all edges.

With all edges selected use Chamfer tool to double the edges.


Now scale and place screw into inner part of rim between 2 bumps. Make sure it intersects with rim.


Now will use Array again to place another 3 screws. Be sure you are in side view as I do, so my settings will work with your model.

Select Rotation along Z axis by 360 degrees and make 4 copies along the way.


And it’s done.



Rendered final result:



In next part we will take look how to create tire with tread.

If you have any question, ask me in the comments.

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