iForge Impact Projects


iForge Impact Projects are opportunities for University of Sheffield students to work with local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), using the skills and knowledge they have accumulated during their course to solve real-world problems and boost their CV. We have found at the iForge that experience of working with industry, and real-world examples of using what you have learned in your degree in a practical way to solve problems, are a huge benefit when it comes to the recruitment process. However, we also think that there are great benefits to SMEs, who often won’t have access to the facilities available at the University and can see real improvements in their business through the digital skills that students bring.

Students will have access to iForge facilities (when available) and software, and will receive support from appropriate academics and technical staff. Depending on the opportunity and the range of applications, students may be working individually or in a small team. The total amount of work would usually be expected to be between 40 and 100 hours, and the project can be completed flexibly alongside studies or during Uni holidays, depending on business needs.

with thanks to support from

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For businesses

Does your business have a need that could be solved by our students? We are always looking for more projects, so why not get in touch today and start the conversation? As well as access to our state-of-the-art iForge makerspace, our students have a range of skills in:

  • Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing (CAD/CAM)
  • Prototyping
  • Additive Manufacture (3D printing)
  • Control Systems
  • Simulation
  • Bioengineering
  • and lots more…

For students: open calls

Howard Music : Prototyping methods for low whistles

Deadline: 29th May 2022 (23:00)

Previous projects

Howard Music: 3D printing of low whistles

3rd year Automatic Control and Systems Engineering student, Harry Merckel, worked with Sheffield-based Howard Music to develop the manufacturing process for their whistles and simplify the process of design iteration using digital techniques. Hear from Harry about what he learned from working with expert instrument maker David O’Hagan as well as how the business was impacted by the knowledge and skills a University of Sheffield engineering student brings.

Active Legs Ltd: Digital Health

(L-R) Shamoil Khomosi, Active Legs Founder Adam Yusuf, Alex McNabb

Our second Impact Project of the year sees two more students working with a Sheffield-based digital health startup, Active Legs, to develop a new leg/foot exercise device. The Portable Foot Rocker aims to improve the health of those who are seated for long periods, such as during travel or due to limited mobility. It promotes movement of the feet and legs through a flexion exercise that will improve blood circulation. The device will be lightweight, portable, and robust enough to withstand heavy wear and tear.

Active Legs Founder and Director, Adam Yusuf, says:

Working with the iForge, with the expertise of University of Sheffield students, will enable us to take our prototype to the next stage and add digital functionality, including wireless communication and a proof-of-concept app.

Meet the team

Shamoil Khomosi, 2nd year Robotics and Mechatronics

Being a part of this Impact Project will enable me to apply my technical knowledge in a dynamic and evolving start-up environment. I’m looking forward to developing Active Legs’ novel project and utilising the support and facilities provided to us by the University. It is a fantastic opportunity, which will allow me to explore innovative solutions in Digital Health and it is a challenge I’m thoroughly excited to work on.

Alex McNabb, MSc Bioengineering

I have aspirations of working with innovative technology in healthcare. Active Legs have given me a valuable opportunity to get my foot through this door by helping to develop their product prototype, focusing on design & manufacture. As well as applying my skills to a genuinely impactful project, I look forward to working with an ambitious start-up company, from whom I can learn the skills you just can’t learn from a lecture theatre.

CAD for Injection Moulding: Bio5 Stationery

iForge student Alfie worked with Bio5, a Sheffield-based stationery company, to develop a new range of injection-moulded antimicrobial stationery, using his CAD expertise and knowledge of manufacturing techniques to take the concepts from 2D sketches and prototype models to production-ready digital models and 3D printed models for a stationery show in London.

From concept sketch to 3D CAD

It was clear from the very start Alfie was the perfect fit for the Bio 5 project. Working with Alfie has been enlightening and, I have to say, a very interesting journey. It’s hard to believe Alfie is just 21 years of age. He brings so much experience and understanding to the table and is always ten steps ahead of everyone. He has not only directed us in terms of CAD but has contributed in many ways such as developing new features, ideas and design. Alfie is a person that shines and his talent will be a major asset and he will be a huge player bringing strength, worth, quality and value during his career. 

Wayne Leigh, Bio5 Founder
Alfie and the team at the trade show

Working with Bio5 on an impact project has not only led to a permanent role in the company but also the opportunity to refine and develop my skills in CAD. Learning and implementing the design processes for injection moulding in addition to improving my abilities in product design.

Alfie Poynter, 2nd year Electrical & Electronic Engineering student

Sonzaikan: Software and hardware development of remote health checkup station

Currently running projects

Jott Pens: CAD design of stationery

  • Fully funded opportunity for one or more students
  • Up to 50 hours work
  • Boost your CV
  • Support and mentoring provided by University staff
  • Work flexibly alongside your studies
  • For more info about working with Howard Music, see the video below on Harry’s initial project in 2020.

ArchformByte: Orthodontics Manufacturing

Welcome to our first two Impact Project students of the year! Callum and Aimee will be working with ArchformByte, a local orthodontic laboratory, on manufacturing techniques.

Callum Holyer, Chemical Engineering student

Hi, I’m Callum and I’m a 4th year Chemical Engineering student. I’ve been 3D printing as a hobby for the past few years and I’m really excited to start working on a project where I can apply what I’ve learned. Helping local businesses is vital now more than ever, so it’s a fantastic opportunity to support the area. Orthodontics is a new field to me with new challenges to overcome, and I’m looking forward to tackling them.

Aimee Van Domburg, Bioengineering student

Hey there, my name is Aimee and I’m a third-year Bioengineering student at the University of Sheffield. I’m specialising in Tissue Engineering and Biomaterials, so when the opportunity to work with dental polymers arose, I knew I wanted to get involved and apply some of the knowledge I have gained from my studies to a real-world project. I am really looking forward to using the facilities we have here at the university to help form novel biomaterials into the complex geometries used in dentistry, and to further my understanding of manufacturing plastics. Working together with an established dental company such as ArchformByte is very exciting because I feel my contribution will have some impact on the wider population, and I can’t wait to see how applying an engineering-solution can advance the current project.