Manipulating Faces and Edges in Maya: Modeling a Wheelie Bin

This is an intro to the Edit Mesh tools in polygon mode. This wheelie bin was made to learn how to use tools in the Edit Mesh menu such as Edge Loops, Bevel, Bridge, Cut Faces, and Split Polygon.

Wheelie Bin

A wheelie bin is more or less symmetrical. I can save time by modeling one half of the bin and mirroring it later. So first I started with a polygon cube, and using Edit Mesh –> Cut Faces Tool, I cut it in half in the top view. (Hold down x to snap to grid, hold down Shift so that the tool will work only on 90 and 45 degree angles, left mouse click near the y axis to start the Cut Face tool, and drag down and release mouse button.)

Deleting half the faces, I ended up with this.

Now I wanted to split the object evenly in thirds. To do so, I went to Edit Mesh –> Insert Edge Loop Tool and clicked on the little box next to the menu item. In the tool settings that come up, select Maintain position –> Multiple edge loops and set the Number of edge loops to 2. Now if I click on an edge, it will make 2 edge loops evenly spread out.

Using the Split Polygon tool, I drew extra edges as below. To ensure the new edges are drawn along the centre of a face, I went to Edit Mesh –> Split Polygon Tool and clicked on the little square. At the bottom of the tool settings window, the Snapping tolerance was adjusted to 100.

(To keep re-using the tool, click the right mouse button after you finish an edge instead of hitting enter.)

The highlighted edge above was deleted using Edit Mesh –> Delete Edge/Vertex. (Don’t simply press the Backspace button because it won’t delte the vertices on its ends.) Two new edges were added using the Split Polygon Tool as below.

Another edge joining the two new edges were created and its vertices were moved to give the shape below.

Using the Split Polygon Tool, another two edges were created at the centres of the two large faces at the top. The two edges were selected and the scale tool was used to scale the z position of the two edges closer to the centre of the whole object. This is so that the z location of the two edges are equal distance from its closest edge on the x-z plane.

To make the handle, the highlited faces above were selected. I went to Edit Mesh –> Bridge.

To make the bridge pop up rather than be flat, I went to the attributes window of the object and went to the bridge tab in its history. The Curve Type was changed to Blend mode.

To make it look more like a handle, I adjusted the location of the vertices.

Next I added a few more edges with the Split Polygon Tool to extrude the centre of the bin upwards.

I moved more vertices so that the relative dimensions of the object looked more like half a bin lid.

I made the highlited part below go on a 45 degree angle. (Make a triangle on the top surface with Split Polygon Tool. Make two vertical edges going downwards in the y direction from the ends of the previous edge. Delete unwanted surfaces. Use Edit Mesh –> Append Polygon Tool to make two new surfaces.)

I split that highlighted polygon above and extruded it as below.

I repeated extruding and rotating so it looked something like this.

Now that the basic shape of the bin lid was complete, I wanted to round the edges. I first selected the outer edges I wanted to bevel a lot and fired off the Edit Mesh –> Bevel tool. In the Attribute Window’s bevel tab, I increased the Offset to make the bevel area larger, and increased the Segments to make it more round. Next I selected all the other edges that I wanted rounded but not so much. I bevelled them but with lower Offset and Segments.

Lastly, I fired off Mesh –> Mirror Geometry, with the settings in the x-direction and Merge with original and Merge vertices selected.

Now for the actual bin. To start off, a cube with 3 subdivisions was manipulated as below by scaling vertices.

Like the lid, half of the bin was chopped off. Rims were created using the Split Polygon Tool, Cut Faces Tool, Extrude, and Merge Vertex Tool. (The image below has the bin mirrored.)

To use the Merge Vertex Tool, go to Edit Mesih –> Merge Vertex Tool and click-drag a vertex onto the target vertex.

Again, Bevel was used to round the edges. However, the the edges didn’t look smooth as you can see below. This is because the normals of the connecting edges aren’t facing the same direction.

To fix this, I selected the edges that have the ‘wrong’ normals and selected Normals –> Soften Edge.

Now that part looked much smoother. The same was done for the edges above.

Mirroring the bin looked like this.

Scaling the lid and adding wheels and bars resulted in this. Oh, and to make the bins actually hollow, the top face was extruded in also.


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Wheelie Bins says:

    Great work there, very interesting object to design.

  2. very nice and useful…

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