Blender 3D: Noob to Pro/Simple Vehicle: Wheel tutorial 1

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There are 2 tutorials for the tires. This and the next tutorial: This is the basic tutorial but the next tutorial is more complicated and you can end up with one of the four different versions.


You should already know how to:

  • Make a mesh
  • Navigate the viewport
  • Extrusion
  • Create, edit materials

This section will recap and introduce:

  • Forming faces
  • Subsurfing
  • Merging vertices
  • Object naming

For our premise, envision jeep tires. They're not too sleek but rather rugged for all kinds of terrain. We need a tire that can handle any obstacle in its way.

During this tutorial we will be using orthographic view.

Model the tireEdit

Hit NUM1 to set front view ( XZ coordinates ), then delete the cube.

Create the outside of the tireEdit

Add a cylinder Shift+A > Mesh > Cylinder then in the tool shelf click on "align to view", use 32 vertices, set the radius to 4, depth to 3, and choose Cap Fill Type: "Nothing".

Create the inside of the tireEdit

Change to NUM1 view and make sure you are in Edit Mode.

Select all vertices, hit the "E Key" and directly after that the "ESC key" to make the new faces, then "Alt+EKEY" and choose "Individual faces)" and extrude the individual faces into the circle by moving the mouse.

You may either type in -1.2 and hit enter, or Hold SHIFT CTRL while extruding the faces until the sides come in -1.200 units. Now remove doubles by going into edit mode, select all and then WKEY -> Remove Doubles.

Checking the outer mesh Reduce the width

Subsurf the tireEdit

Now it's time to make the tire look like a rugged tire.

Return to Object Mode, and apply a subsurf modifier (use the Modifier menu in the properties header (it looks like a wrench) click on "Add Modifier" and select Subdivision Surface - select VIEW level 1 or 2 to the mesh. The tire will now look like a bead necklace.

Crease the edgesEdit

A little creative use of creases will restore our tire.

Check that Limit Selection to Visible is off.

Enter Edge Select mode

Bring up the circle selection tool (AKEY to unselect all, then CKEY).

Use the scroll wheel to change the circle selection size to be in the center of the tire, between the inside and outside edges. This will select all of the inside edges, as well as the triangles on the side of the tire, as in the picture below. Then type "Enter"

Now press SHIFT+EKEY to Crease these edges, you can type 1.000, and press ENTER, or hold CTRL to pull in steps till you see 1.000 in the status bar at the bottom of the view window.

Applied subsurf Crease the edges

Model the hubcapEdit

The tire is almost done. Let's add a simple hubcap to it.

Create a cylinderEdit

Be sure you're in Edit Mode

Hit AKEY, once or twice till the wheel is selected

Hit NUM1 for front view

Press SHIFT+SKEY, from the popup menu, choose "Cursor to Selected", to put the cursor at the center point of the existing tire

Hit Shift+A => cylinder with 32 vertices, radius of 1.9, depth of .5, and choose Cap Fill Type: "Nothing", click on the checkbox of "align to view".

Hit NUM7 for top view

Hit GKEY, then YKEY, then type 2.2, and hit ENTER

Add another tube mesh

Create the outside of the capEdit

Hit AKEY once, so that nothing is selected

Hit NUM7 for top view

Zoom in with the MMB till the hub cap fills the view

be sure you're in Vertex select mode

Make sure "Limit selection to Visible" is off

hit BKEY for box select, then holding the LMB drag the box along the top edge of the hubcap.

Hit ALt+EKEY on the popup select Edges only, then hit ESC, to create the edges we will need

Hit SKEY, then SHIFT+YKEY to only move in the XZ axis, then type in .35, and hit ENTER

Hit GKEY, then YKEY to only move the Y axis, then type in .35, and hit ENTER

Shorten the hubcap width

Create the Axle CoverEdit

We'll merge these vertices together to create a flat surface.

Hit Alt+EKEY, on the popup select edges only, then hit ESC, to create the edges we will need

Hit ALT+MKEY on the popup pick at center. Blender will reduce the 32 vertices to 1.

Hit NUM3 for side view

hit GKEY, then YKEY, to only move the Y axis, then type in -0.4, and hit ENTER

Scale in the front vertices Pull the center vertex in

Final sizing of hub cap to tireEdit

The final mesh editing is to scale the hub cap to a size that is slightly larger than the hole of the tire.

hit NUM7 for top view

position the mouse over the hubcap, and press the LKEY to select the entire hubcap

Hit SKEY, then SHIFT+YKEY to only move the XZ axis, then type 1.48, and hit ENTER

Hit NUM3 for side view

Hit GKEY, then YKEY, to only move the Y axis, then type -1.11 (use -0.77 if you want your hubs sticking out), and hit ENTER

Renaming the WheelEdit

The last thing to do is to rename the wheel so we can find it easier later.

Enter Object mode and select the wheel only.

In the outliner window you'll see the tire called "Cylinder". This name was created because we started with a cylinder mesh.

Click on the name with the right mouse button and click on rename rename the object to something like 'wheel'. Save your file where you'll find it later and continue to the next step.


Rendered tire

Change the materials to make it look like a tire. One object can have multiple colors/textures, as you will learn in future tutorials.

If you'd like to race ahead, then refer to the materials section for an explanation on how to do that, or to the Blender manual: Multiple Materials