As car security systems become increasingly more sophisticated, thieves are targeting car parts instead, including alloy wheels. One method to deter wheel thieves is to use locking nuts, one on each wheel, which require a special adapter, or key, to loosen. But even these are not invulnerable.
Engineers at Ford have now developed unique locking wheel nuts using 3D printing technology. 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.
07 February 2020