Latest in Gear

Image credit: Ford

Ford is 3D printing unique wheel nut locks based on driver voices

The unique locks make it much harder for thieves to steal your alloys.
271 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Ford

If you've got a set of sweet alloys on your car, you've likely got them protected with locking nuts which can only be loosened with a special key. But these aren't invulnerable to thieves, who are increasingly targeting car parts as vehicle security becomes more sophisticated. As such, Ford has come up with a novel way of using 3D printing to keep your alloys safe.

Engineers at the automaker have designed locking nuts with unique contours based on the driver's voice. Software is used to convert soundwaves -- taken from driver saying something like "I drive a Ford Fiesta" -- into a physical, printable pattern. This is then turned into a circle and used as the design for the locking nut's indentation and key. It's essentially biometric identification for your wheels.

The nuts and key are 3D-printed using acid and corrosion resistant stainless steel. To prevent criminals from simply making a wax imprint of the pattern, each nut contains unevenly-spaced and gradually widening ribs and indentations within, so any wax applied to the nut breaks when it's pulled away.

As Raphael Koch, research engineer with Ford Europe, says, this innovation demonstrates how 3D printing can be a boon for automakers beyond simple parts creation. "It's one of the worst experiences for a driver, to find their car up on blocks with all four wheels gone. Some alloy wheels can cost thousands to replace, but these unique rim nuts will stop thieves in their tracks," he says. "Making wheels more secure and offering more product personalisation are further proof that 3D printing is a game-changer for car production."

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
271 Shares
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Microsoft will remove Cortana from its Android launcher in April

Microsoft will remove Cortana from its Android launcher in April

View
NASA's Psyche asteroid mission will use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket

NASA's Psyche asteroid mission will use a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket

View
'Quiplash 3' is coming to Jackbox's Party Pack 7 this fall

'Quiplash 3' is coming to Jackbox's Party Pack 7 this fall

View
2020 Game Developers Conference cancels due to coronavirus

2020 Game Developers Conference cancels due to coronavirus

View
Galaxy S20 Ultra review: Impressive but impractical

Galaxy S20 Ultra review: Impressive but impractical

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr