Modelling rim/wheel


I have some unfinished business with one of my early projects and recently I turned back to kick-ass in blender (I like the 2.8 upgrade). My skills haven’t much improved over the last years since I stopped following tutorials, but I know a few things.

One of the issues I had is make the rims/wheels of a BMW motorcyle. I used to manipulate every vertice manually and created some inaccurate, somewhat looking like rim but it left me completely unsatisfied. (mesh was a mess, wheels weren’t symetrical, etc.)

Therefor, what would your approach be to model something like this: (this time I want all of the detail)


I uploaded my model back in the day to see what awful creation I created, but the point is to get back to it, and make it a personal source of creator satisfaction:


Hey, The rim = mirror modifier for sure
The tire = use this method (look for my name at the bottom)

Hey mate,

I’m less interested in the tire at this moment as there is plenty of tutorials on youtube on tires themselves.

Just wondering how some experienced modeller would approach the creation of the rim. It’s in no way a very complex shape, but to have it all right it needs a good way forward and thought full way of creating it. I mean:

  • Which shape to start with
  • How to get it symmetrical
  • Which modifiers to use
  • Etc.

Well your lucky in the fact you chose a rim that is symmetrical. It has 4 spokes that split to a Y, so take half down the C/L then take half of that which leaves one quarter. I would create the ‘rim profile’ minus the spokes and “spin” it 90 degrees say 10 - 12 segments, create one quarter of the center hub part, then the spoke half. That just leaves joining them together which is where your modelling skills come into play. As I said “Mirror Modifier” is your only modeling modifier (other than SubSurf) .

Here’s a very similar workflow for how I used to make wheels in 3dsMax, but for Blender 2.8. Made this tutorial real fast with the blend file. Wish there was a script to do the initial setup. Hope it helps!

Using a few mirror modifiers and empty objects.
wheelmirror.blend (1.9 MB)


This is indeed quite useful. I’ll start with this during the weekend!

Here’s a quick and dirty example. I started with two circles for the outer rim and inner hub, then modelled one of the spokes between them.

Then it’s just a matter mirroring that, then using the 3D cursor in the center as a pivot point to extrude out the rest of the rims, and adding support loops and subdivision modifier.

wheel.blend (100.3 KB)


That’s exactly it! Splendid, hope I can now manage myself with all this information.

Keep you up to date :slight_smile:

Sometimes with things like this it could also be easier to work the other way around. From the outer rim to the hub. (Reducing counts heading toward the center can be easier to keep neat, given how subdivision works.) Also when deciding on a circle’s vertex count (or cylinder’s edges), a bit of math helps. You have 4 and 8 fold properties to the spokes, so multiplying gives 32. Then it’s possible to consider adding another multiple of one of those for that for more spacing, say another 16? (Which would give another two faces on either side of the 8 spokes where it connects to the outer rim.) Thus a circle with a count of 48 would give an even distribution along the circumference (which will smooth without distorting) that would work along with the spoke count. (Then from there you could chop to a segment and array it back to save repetitive work.)

Not always the most readily obvious thing, but it’s one possible consideration when modeling this type of object.

Then of course you also have loop tools addon that can circularize, or you can use the to-sphere command with placement of the 3D cursor to maintain the plane of a selection affected by it. There’s some nuances to those, as those tools are for methods particular to Blender. Not always needed, but they definitely come in handy.

I managed to fabricate something, just not as neat as what you have sent.

Definantly some way of improvement should be possible. :joy:

Wheel.blend (725.8 KB)

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I just seem to try to just duplicate the blend file you sent me, but even that I do not manage. It’s a simple mesh, but I can’t find the work method to duplicate this. I think I’m over trying, and I don’t think you have spent so much time to make this.

There is probably something critical I miss.

Can you tell how did you go from a circle to this shape:


And how did you make this symmetrical split?


It would be much appreciated. The drawings I’m making are just not good. Things don’t align and seems too random at times.

I’ve made dozens of rims for the game Automation: The Car Company Tycoon game, so this is one of the few areas I have a lot of experience in :stuck_out_tongue:

I would start with the outer rim, make a whole circle with some factor of 4 verts. (Like 160) From there you can just select 1/8th of the circle and delete the rest.

I would from there just model this part of the wheel, working from the outside in:

Just to do a quick and very ugly example for you;

From there add a mirror;

Add the empty Plain Axes and rotate it 270 degrees;

Then add the array;

You can model the wheel before or after to do all the set up with the circle, that’s personal preference, I generally do the modeling with the mirror and array elements all in place, so I can see the whole rim taking shape as I go.

Some in game examples of my workflow. I can do 4-6 rims a day like this, so it’s a pretty efficient workflow IMO.


Making this is pretty straight forward.


You’re basically inside of a subdivided square, like this;

All you need is a 8 sided “circle” , which you would snap to the surface, like so;


From there you can delete the center vertex and just start filling the holes.

From there, just fill in the circle with an ngon


And extrude as needed;


With a subsurf modifier, you’ll have a nice little circle;

Hey, I’m not so great at tutorials but I will take some time tomorrow evening to try to explain the steps I took.

Ok, here is a sloppy example. I will show you the steps without too much attention to getting the shape right.

So, first just create two circles for the outer rim and the hub. Pay attention to the number of verts and how they relate to your wheel. In this case you have four spokes so you want something divisible by four. You also want to have the right spacing between your verts to get the shape want without modifying your circle. I’ve gone with 32.

Next, extrude out the rough shape of your spoke:

Next, connect it to the center hub. Note I am always doing identical transformations to verts above and below the X-axis. It would have been easier to use a Z axis mirror here but it would have added more steps to this post. :stuck_out_tongue:

Next, add a subdivision modifier and start adjusting things / adding supporting loops. This is where you want to take the time to adjust things and get your spoke shape exactly right. It gets much harder to modify later on. Use as little geometry as you can, but as much as you need. Spend a lot more time here than I have:

Now, rotate by 45 degrees and add a mirror modifier. Make sure it is placed above the subsurf and apply clipping:

Now you can add your details on the hub and rims, insets, etc.

There are of course other ways to do this, and probably better ones. But this is what I did for this particular wheel in the file I shared earlier. Hope it helps.


My workflow was the opposite way around (starting from the center outwards) and I just missed some critical commands I never used before.

This workflow definantly will help me to model this piece! I’ll try to find some time today or later this week.

Muuuuuch appreciated! I will keep you posted!

CG Masters have a detailed tutorial available on YouTube for modeling car rims. It’s taken from, one of their, much larger vehicle modeling courses.

Like others I’d start with a circle for the outer edge, work on 1/8th, mirror it to the 1/4 and spin, or circular array, around the centre point.
From there extrude for thickness and mirror to make the other side, or solidify modifier and vertex groups to control the variable thickness.
No need to collapse the modifiers, keeping them live you only need model and edit the original 1/8th to change the whole model.

This is as well a very use full tutorial.

I saw some part of it already, and it will learn me some handy tricks for the future!

Thanks for sharing!

You sir, are my hero!

I’m pretty busy at the moment, but I followed your steps:

Coming days/weekend I’ll try to model the entire wheel in more detail. But this work workflow has been of incredible value to me! Big thanks!

Do you have any idea why there is a color difference in my mesh?

I merged the vertices coming from the outer rim and inter rim at the Y-point with the alt + m command.

Great, glad I could help.

It looks like your normals are inconsistent. So the faces are pointing in different directions. Select everything and press Ctrl+Shift+N to make normals consistent.