Rigging Automatic Car Wheels

In this Blender 2.5 video tutorial we take a very basic car model and rig the wheels to roll automatically with the car and also setup a steering system to easily point the front wheels appropriately. This simple rig makes use of several different constraint types, including transformation and track-to constraints.

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37 Responses to “Rigging Automatic Car Wheels”
  1. Posts: 9

    So, I used this tut to rig a car I had already made, everything was pretty spot on. I have noticed a few things I would love if someone can explain.
    1) if you animate the “Base bone and do a 180 turn and head the other way the tires will start turning the oposite direction.
    2) And I would love to know how you would animate this on a path? Do you just add a bone constraint to follow the path attached to the base bone? I’ve actually tried that and tried to follow an object animating along a path with not much success. Any input here would be stellar.

    Side note: the errors dont bug me, It actually makes thing more clear. I run into that tuff all the time so watching a someone do a tut that needs to back track is no big deal.

  2. Posts: 9

    Addition to last post.

    Being a citizen member I downloaded the working file and noticed that if you rotate the bone 90 degrees on the z axis the wheels stop turning when you move the base bone along its local y axis. it only works when moving it along the world y axis. I know its a pretty basic tut on rigging a car but it would be cool if you can throw us a “Bone” :P (armature humor) on how to translate this or get the car to animate correctly along a circular path perhaps.


    • Posts: 3842

      Hey Brandon,

      Another user pointed this problem out to me and I am still looking for a way to solve it. I believe this is actually a limitation of the Transformation constraint and the rigging may need to be done in another way. My current thought it to use Drivers but I will have to experiment with it a bit more. If I can come up with a solution you can expect a follow-up tutorial!


      • Posts: 4
        Simon Kinane says:

        To fix this problem, you need to define a space which follows the rotation of the base bone, and a target object in that space which follows the location of same bone. You can then target this object in the wheel constraints instead of the bone.

        To do this!…

        - create an empty at the origin, and add a constraint to copy the rotation of the base bone
        - create another empty, make it a child of the first empty, and add a constraint to copy the location of base bone
        - modify your wheel constraints to target the second empty
        - the target should be evaluated in ‘Local(w/o parent) Space’
        - change the Transform mapping from the target’s Y location to X (I don’t understand why I had to do this step, but it worked!)

        Hope this is intelligible,


  3. Posts: 4
    Rory says:

    Couldn’t the steering bones have been done with IK?

  4. Posts: 1
    |Tom says:

    Well I don’t like all of the mistakes, at all. Luckily I was able to get past it, but still.

  5. Posts: 1

    very nice
    but can u show me how to do it in blender 2.49 because this version is different

    • Posts: 3842

      Hi there,

      We actually no longer support Blender 2.49. Many things have changed in Blender since then. I highly recommend upgrading to Blender 2.61.

  6. Posts: 2
    Rob Gosbee says:

    Trying to build a rig that will allow a car model to burnout and fishtail before gaining traction and speeding away. Can this be done using this rig? I’ve been trying for days to get Phillipe’s rig from BlenderNation to work, which I understand to be the most popular method. Any ideas?

  7. Posts: 14
    beast28 says:

    Can this rig be exported to Unity with the same functionallity?

  8. Posts: 3
    Stephan says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    why parenting the object to the bones with the vertex groups? As body and wheels are separate objects wouldn’t it be easier to parent each of these to their bones by using Ctrl-P->Bone? That would just transform the object instead of the mesh, or do I miss something?


    • Posts: 3
      Stephan says:

      Ooops, I just saw, they aren’t separate objects.

  9. Posts: 1

    I have a lego car I’d like to rig, and was wondering if maybe you could help me?

  10. Posts: 7

    Just once I wish someone would do a rigging tutorial that doesn’t involve five million steps. I don’t care if the result would be small… it’s just too much detail.

    I’ve attempted to get through this tutorial three times now, and I never make it. You are using dozens of shortcuts and commands I’ve never seen before, and since you are going through many, many armatures I just get lost in the tide. I think this must be why people hate rigging so much. Everything else I have done, I’m allowed to start small, but in rigging, they always throw the entire human body at you, or stuff like this. I think the tutorial on rigging that gives you a few armatures and steps you through it just doesn’t exist. (Except for the chain one… but they don’t actually teach anything in it.)


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