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Thieves often set their sights on expensive alloy rims. That is why the car manufacturer Ford is developing uniquely-shaped locking nuts together with EOS , a company specialized in 3D print based in Krailling near Munich. To manufacture the system, the Ford engineers record the vehicle’s owner saying a short sentence like “I drive a Ford Mustang” and turn it into a printable shape with software. It serves as a design template for a uniquely-shaped locking nut and a wrench that fits it. Both are produced by 3D printing on corrosion- and acid-resistant stainless steel.

The nuts cannot be removed without the custom wrench. And the nuts are shaped so that a thief cannot copy them with a wax imprint – the wax shape will crack when it is removed. It is also possible to use a logo, a specific geometric shape or the initials of the car owner to customize the nut instead of a voice pattern.