Ford Working on 3D-Printed Locking Wheel Nuts
Have you ever had your car wheels stolen? It sure does suck. Ford wants to make sure that this is a kind of suck you never have to encounter, which is why it’s teaming with EOS to create 3D-printed locking wheel nuts that are harder for thieves to bust.
How Ford’s 3D-printed wheel nuts work
So what exactly makes these nuts so special? According to Ford, your voice is the key (literally). You can use anything from words spoken from your facehole to unique images like the Mustang pony emblem to create unique grooves that make your wheel nuts unlockable without a special key.
Assuming that you were to purchase 3D-printed locking wheel nuts, you would presumably meet with an engineer (or send in a sound byte) of you saying a short phrase like “I drive a Ford Mustang,” which you’d say in your best Will Ferrell voice, or “There is no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism,” which you’d also say in your best Will Ferrell voice.
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The pattern created by what you say is then used to create the circular indentation in the nuts and the key with which you can unlock them. This makes the nuts nearly impossible to copy. Your nut will be your nut and your nut alone. Thus, thieves get foiled.
Ford hasn’t said whether it will bring 3D-printed locking wheel nuts to market, but the increasing viability of the new printing technology means it probably isn’t that far outside the realm of possibility.
“Having our very own plug-and-play printer enables us to make tools and parts exactly when we need them, and to replace them faster than ever before,” said Lars Bognar, research engineer, Advanced Materials and Processes, Ford of Europe.“For some tools, the delivery time was up to eight weeks, but with 3D printing, the turn-around has been reduced to just five days. Best of all, anyone can sit down, create the part they need and start printing it using recycled plastic.”
Last year, Ford also revealed that it’s working on offering 3D-printed custom seat covers.
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