Milkshape Modeling Tutorial for Return to Castle Wolfenstein Part V -Making wheels from multi-stack cylinders

Milkshape 3D tutorial


Making wheels from multi-stack cylinders


By Tim Jacobs AKA No1_sonuk


This tutorial indicates a method of modelling “circular” wheels. It is not the only method, but is the one I use.

This tutorial assumes some prior working knowledge of Milkshape 3D.

Remember to save regularly, and with different filenames so that it’s easier to recover from mistakes.

I originally made this design of wheel for a Stargate SG-1 MALP model for a mod, so this is gonna come out like an ATV or Quad-bike wheel, but the principal can be used for older style wheels as well.

Getting ready


First off, we need to decide on the cross-section of the wheel. For our ATV wheel, this should come out something like this.

Figure 1

Now, we’re gonna use MS3D’s “Cylinder” tool to make the wheel, so we need to decide on how many segments (called “Slices” by MS3D) and stacks we need. The greater the number of slices, the more round the wheel looks from the side. The more stacks we use, the smoother the cross-section is.

In our case, 12 slices will make it round enough, and the number of stacks is 11. Fig.2 shows how this was determined. The number of stacks is the number of flat surfaces on half of the cross-section, excluding the centre hub.

Figure 2

The cross-section is also symetrical. This makes the shaping easier, but you don’t HAVE to do it this way.


Let’s start modelling


Make this as a new, separate model. Merge it later, or use tags to attach it to your vehicle. If you like, you can make it any size, then sort the scale out when you’re finished getting the shape right.

First we need the cylinder


Go to the MODEL tab of the tool panel, and press the CYLINDER button.

Figure 3

Fill in the STACKS (11) and SLICES (12) numbers under CYLINDER OPTIONS. Make sure the CLOSE CYLINDER checkbox is ticked. If it isn’t, you won’t have a hub! In the LEFT view window, drag out a cylinder with a 20 units diameter and 11 units high. These numbers make it easier to keep track of the scaling.

Figure 4

Leaving the cylinder selected, press ROTATE on the tool bar, and put 90 in the Z box, and 0 in the X and Y boxes. Then press the small ROTATE button in ROTATE OPTIONS.

Move the cylinder, in the LEFT view window so that the centre is aligned with Z=0 and Y=0. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

Figure 5

Your FRONT view should look something like Fig.6.

Figure 6

To give us some more room, scale the cylinder in the Z axis by a factor of 2.

From the FACE menu, select SMOOTH ALL to tidy up the 3D view image.

SAVE what you have so far.

Now we shape the wheel


Fig.7 indicates where the stack numbers tie up with fig.2.

Figure 7

Put your 3D view window on FLAT SHADED to make it easier to see what you’re creating.


Road part of the tread


Select the ring of vertices immediately to the left of STACK 5, and right of stack 7.

Figure 8

Scale them X=1, Y=0.9, Z=0.9 Fig.9 shows the tread forming.

Figure 9

Corners of the tread


Select the ring of vertices immediately to the left of STACK 4, and right of stack 8. Scale them X=0.8, Y=0.8, Z=0.8 The tread part is now complete.

Figure 10

Tyre side walls


Select the ring of vertices immediately to the left of STACK 3, and right of stack 9. Scale them X=1, Y=0.5, Z=0.5 The side walls are now the right diameter, but in the wrong place.

Figure 11

In this case, it’s easier to move these in, rather than scaling. Move the 3 rings of vertices that form stacks 1 and 2. Move them X=3, Y=0, Z=0.

Figure 12

The wall is now flush with the edge of the tread. In a similar manner, move stacks 10 and 11 X=-3, Y=0, Z=0.

Figure 13

Outer Wheel rim


Select the ring of vertices immediately to the left of STACK 2, and right of stack 10. Scale them X=1, Y=0.4, Z=0.4 The outer rim is now the right diameter, but in the wrong place.

Figure 14

Move them both in by 3 units. This puts them inside the side wall.

Figure 15

Inner Rim and Hub


The last stacks, 1 and 11, form the Inner Rims. The Hubs are formed by the faces on the ends of the cylinder. Select the ring of vertices immediately to the left of STACK 1, and right of stack 11. Scale them X=1, Y=0.2, Z=0.2 Move them both in by 7.5 units. This forms the Hub.

Figure 16

The LEFT view looks like this.

Figure 17

The wheel may look better if one of the flat surfaces sits on the ground, rather than a “point”. Select the whole model and rotate it 15 degrees around the X axis. The angle depends on the number of slices.

Figure 18

Rotate Angle = 180/Number of slices

(The 180 is because you want to rotate the wheel 1/2 of the slice angle)

From the FACE menu, select SMOOTH ALL to tidy up the 3D view image.

Figure 19

Fig.20 shows the 3D view in SMOOTH SHADED.

Figure 20

That’s it for the basic structure.

You just need to skin it now.


Extra ideas


You can adjust the Y/Z scaling and X position of the vertex rings to get the shape of wheel you want.

Though tyre cross sections are usually symmetrical the metal wheel often isn’t.

You can form an axle as a part of the wheel by adding 2 more stacks so that the hub on one side can have the axle sticking out.

ARRGH! An AXLE! I forgot the axle! I gotta start again!


NO, NO, NO, you don’t need to start again.

You can add extra stacks using “Extrude”.

From the EDIT pulldown menu, select SELECT NONE to clear the current selection.

In the MODEL tab, choose SELECT with FACE, and BY VERTEX options. In the LEFT view window, select only the centre vertex. This selects the hub faces. Fig.21 shows what happened.

Figure 21

In the FRONT view window, deselect (Shift-right click) the faces on the side of wheel away from the axle. Fig.22 shows what it should look like for an axle out the left side (right in the FRONT view).

Figure 22

From the MODEL tab, select the EXTRUDE tool. In EXTRUDE OPTIONS, X=5, Y=0, Z=0. Press the small EXTRUDE button. Fig.23 shows the hub has apparently moved out. You actually created another stack.

Figure 23

Select SMOOTH ALL from the FACES menu. If you want your axle that thick, just move the selected faces in the X direction to the length you want. If you want it thinner, read on.

Thinner axle


(All in the FRONT view)

If you want a thinner axle, you need another stack. Now, do the extrude again with x=4.5, Y=0, Z=0. Fig. 24

Figure 24

Select SMOOTH ALL from the FACES menu. Using SELECT with the VERTEX option, select the 2 new vertex rings. Scale the selection in the Y and Z axes only to the size you want. In fig.25 I used 0.5 for each.

Figure 25

Deselect the “vehicle” end of the axle, and move the vertices X=-5, Y=0, Z=0. Fig 26 shows the vertices in line with the old hub face.

Figure 26

Move the vehicle end of the axle in the x direction to the required length.

Select SMOOTH ALL from the FACES menu.

That’s it, you’re done.

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