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
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)
- Additive Manufacture (3D printing)
- Control Systems
- and lots more…
For students: open calls
Project Xavier: Accessible Drums
Xavier is a 12 year old drummer with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). Due to the progression of the condition, he now requires adaptations so that he can use the drum pedals whilst sat in his wheelchair. A proof of concept was designed at Hackcessible 2022 using electronics to actuate the bass pedal from a button on the drumsticks, and the design and prototyping work was continued by a group this semester.
Deadline: 9th June 2023 23:00
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
This project saw two students working with a Sheffield-based digital health startup, Active Legs, to develop a new leg/foot exercise device. The Portable Foot Rocka 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 is lightweight, portable, and robust enough to withstand heavy wear and tear.
Students Shamoil Khomosi (2nd year Robotics and Mechatronics) and Alex McNabb (MSc Bioengineering) got involved after local inventor Adam Yusuf asked the University for help to realise his vision for the Active Legs concept. Shamoil and Alex helped transform the foot rocker invention from a mechanical device into a hi tech gadget – known as “Digital Health Rocka” – able to measure movement and feed data back through its own phone based-app. Shamoil said:
It was such a brilliant opportunity for me because it really complemented the theory of what I’d been learning but gave me real design freedom too. It was comparable to working in industry because I was thrown in at the deep end and had to figure out the design and also juggle the reality of costs.
Active Legs Founder and Director, Adam Yusuf, said:
Working with the University has been a win/win for everyone. I got the technical expertise I needed, the University was able to work with a local start up and Shamoil and Alex got the chance for a very different kind of work experience which can go on their resumes.
Shamoil has gone on to work with Mercedes AMG and Rolls-Royce, while Alex is designing custom protective cases.
Bio5 Stationery: CAD for Injection Moulding
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
TT: Surgical Device Prototyping
Mechanical and Bioengineering students worked with local NHS doctors to create a prototype from their initial concept for a novel skin biopsy and wound closure device. The project included CAD design and physical prototyping of the components and mechanisms. The finished prototype allowed the clients to take the project forward and pitch for funding which should lead to commercialisation.
Jott Pens: CAD design of stationery
3rd year Mechanical Engineering student Ife Akande worked with Jott Pens to design a high end pen to be manufactured in the UK and celebrating Sheffield’s industrial heritage.
Working from basic sketches, Ife produced a number of concepts in CAD before converging on a design and testing the mechanism with 3D printed prototypes. Ife then worked with University technical staff to produce a final machined metal prototype. This will be taken to trade fairs and used to attract funding for larger scale manufacture.
ArchFormByte: Orthodontics Manufacturing
Why did Callum and Aimee join the project?
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.
Callum Holyer, 4th Year Chemical Engineering student
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.Aimee Van Domburg, 3rd Year Bioengineering student