- duplicate your model.
- select the original and place it on a display layer and make that layer a reference layer.
- take the duplicate model and switch to vertex component mode (RMB over model or F8 - i prefer F8
- select all the verts and hit "W" for the move tool
- either double click the move icon in your toolbar, or hold down W+LMB and select Normal for the axis (depend on which version of Maya you are using, W+LMB may have the "Normal" axis moved to Axis>Normal)
- move your verts along the N axis (blue,but may already be highlighted yellow) until the are outside your original mesh
- don't go too insanely far with it though, just a fair enough amount outside of the original model so there is still ample room for good raycasting, but not too far otherwise it really degrades the form of the normal map and flattens it out.
- then tweak any areas of the now created cage that are not where they should be, are overlapping, or are still stuck inside the original model
- delete the display layer of your original model, then export your meshes accordingly
VERY IMPORTANT! your cage must match the topology/vert order of your original mesh. If you change your original model, then you'll have to re-create your cage. If you try to change your cage to match your original model that you may have modified, then instead of working with the same model twice, you are now working with two entirely different models
two more things that help... switching on backface culling while you work, and assigning each model a different shader while giving the duplicate cage model a definable color and some transparency.