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Ford has developed a brand new 3D-printed locking wheel nut to help prevent people from trying to steal wheels.

What makes the nuts unique is that they have contours based on the driver’s voice. It's a pretty remarkable process, apparently they record your voice and use the sound pattern as the design for the locking nut’s indentation and key.

Here's how Ford explains it.

Engineers at Ford have now developed unique locking wheel nuts using 3D printing technology.

Voice pattern defines the nut’s shape

Together with EOS, a leading supplier for high-end solutions in additive manufacturing, Ford has created locking nuts with contours based on the driver’s voice.

Like an iris scan or a fingerprint, a person’s voice can be used as a unique biometric identification. Engineers record the driver’s voice for a minimum of one second, saying something like “I drive a Ford Mustang”, and use software to convert that singular soundwave into a physical, printable pattern. This pattern is then turned into a circle and used as the design for the locking nut’s indentation and key.

With the geometry in place, the nut and key are designed as one piece, then 3D-printed using acid and corrosion resistant stainless steel. When finished, the nut and key are separated, with a small amount of grinding required to make them ready for use.

The design also includes second level security features that prevent the nut from being cloned or copied. The unevenly spaced ribs inside the nut and indentations that widen the deeper they go prevent a thief from making a wax imprint of the pattern, as the wax breaks when it is pulled from the nut.

If not using the driver’s voice to create the contours, the nuts could feature designs specific to a vehicle, such as with the Mustang logo, or use the driver’s initials. The design could also take inspiration from a driver’s interest, for example, by using the outline of a famous racetrack.
 
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