Open Maker Bench Challenge


Hello all, I’d like to introduce myself, my name is Eric Schimelpfenig and I’ve been working with the folks over at SketchUp on some of our Maker Faire projects. Our latest project is this: The Open Maker Bench Challenge. We want you to hack our workbench! Read on!

Sometimes the best tools for the job are the ones you make yourself. So we thought that while every great making project starts with a great idea, it eventually ends up on a bench of some sort. Rather than just go buy a bench, we decided to design our own… two actually.

This bench is for every kind of maker. We want you to hack this bench and make it your own. We’ll take the best ideas and show them off at Maker Faire in May. You can submit your SketchUp models, ideas, or hand sketches here.

To read more about the bench, click here.


To get right to hacking on the SketchUp model, click here.


SketchUp to CNC


Could Youn please explain the purpose. Is it a Carrier for Various makerbots?


It’s a bench for everyone. We’re providing a base model that you can use to turn this bench into a useful surface for any kind of making project. You can read more with the PDF above or here: enter link description here


Off the top of my head:

  1. It needs to be on casters or light enough to just pick up and move
  2. the proportions need to allow for clamping things to it. it could also have holes cut in the top to allow for “bench dogs” to hold items in place.


It’s a great idea! Very important is the possibility to built in electrical power, for example a multibple socket.
:ok_hand: :zap: :electric_plug: :bulb:


I am not good at using SketchUp but I like looking at things people have planned out. The Open bench would be perfect for my dollhouse work. I could take it outside and use it for painting or sanding. Which brings me to the topic of sanding. It would be nice to have a small space say 8" x 8" of peg board so the dust could be pulled into the bottom by a shop vac. I don’t need a large space as most of my pieces are tiny.
Maybe someone could add this option in SketchUp for me. It would also be nice if it had an adjustable height so that I could use it standing or sitting.

Sorry, just found the other designs. I could use a combination of the soldering, and craft mat (could a pegboard piece replace it?) Building miniatures takes many skills and I would just love this bench. My clamps are ready, now to get someone to build it for me.


These are great ideas folks! If you haven’t seen the example models you can check them out here:

Ready made examples on 3D warehouse

For those of you that don’t think you’re good at SketchUp don’t be afraid to try! We’re looking for ideas, not the best SketchUp model. If you’ve got a great idea, but not the best SketchUp model, no worries we’ll fix it right up for you.

Even if you don’t have a SketchUp model, sketch out an idea on paper and post the picture. Or, take a picture of your bench and show us how you work.

To acknowledge above:

  • Casters are definitely on the list. I designed the legs to be able to be cut down a little so that casters could be attached while maintaining the height.
  • For bench dogs, check out the Handibot table. There are bench dogs on that for material holding. It’s really easy to pop new holes in.
  • Peg board is awesome. I love the idea of something that pulls fumes away. The only caution there is that you don’t want to suck atomized paint into a regular shop vac as it will bring flammable paint past the sparking motor. There are other ways of getting rid of fumes though.
  • For clamps in the table, check these out:
  • Power at the table is definitely something we want to do. Great idea.


I have tried to download the model but it was made in a newer version than I have which is SketchUp Make Version 14.0.4899. I cannot upgrade as my mac is old and will not accept newer operating systems so I am stuck.

Do you have a model that is suitable to use on an older version of SketchUp or will I have to admire from a distance, I doubt I am the only one in this position.


When you click the download link it gives you several versions to choose from.
Pick the one that best suits you.


I’ve been looking for a small desk to create a workspace large enough for a lamp, piece of manuscript, a tablet cpu, and a cup of tea. I can see some variations here to create a small desk.


I’m missing something perceptually. Where are the 2D drawings and dimensions for printing or cutting the components so I can make one?


I started playing around with the model that SketchUp provided as a starting point and quickly came to the opinion that the exclusion of 2x4 dimensional lumber may be unnecessarily constricting. A lot of schools don’t have access to CNC machines, let alone machines that can cut sheets of plywood, but they do have the tools to cut dimensional lumber and plywood. If the CNC pieces could be kept relatively small and to a minimum then it would be viable to have them cut by a service or at another school.

So still working within the other constraints of the exercise I’ve started playing with models that combine 2x4 dimensional lumber with CNC’d plywood.

Curious what others think.

Here is what I have so far.

The SketchUp file is here:


if you ever go to maker faire, i don’t think you’ll see a single miter saw or table saw… but you’ll see a whole lotta little robots etc making wood and plastic_y type things.

it looks like this guy:

too top heavy though for davinci i think… the wrists and forearms are covering area, sure… but they aren’t supporting a whole lot of weight when spread out like that


Interesting insight regarding maker faires. Partially the saws you mention are not there because they are heavy, noisy, and potentially dangerous. But still, the disconnect of the maker movement from older traditions of making can be a little odd. It’s kind of like the computer folks who say the paper book is dead. Yeah, right.

Most of the “furniture” I’ve designed and built (almost always using SketchUp for the assist) has combined 2x lumber with plywood. A recent example is a little climbing wall I built for my granddaughter.

Before touching a piece of lumber I worked the whole thing out in SketchUp ( ) and as a result I had an easy time building and minimal waste. The 2x4s are used for, essentially, posts and beams, and the plywood provides stability (prevents shear) and quickly covers large surfaces.

I understand that CNC machines are a cool new maker thing, but I think the sooner they are seen as one tool among many others, the better.


@fredbartels I love your ideas about dimensional lumber, but this bench is 100% CNC made. CNC machines are actually more accessible than you think. Check out to see some that are available near you. We’d love for people to be able to download these files and have them made locally. If you can’t find a maker on call a local cabinet shop or Maker Space. They’re very likely to have a CNC machine available.

I’ve added your ideas to our submissions.

Now, back to the modeling. For those of you that have hacked on this so far, great work. If you’re having trouble downloading the file, under the download button in 3D warehouse you can download into older SketchUp versions.

Or, you could get the latest version of SketchUp 2015 MAKE for free. All of the modeling you’ll need to do for this bench can be done on SketchUp MAKE (free version)

For those of you asking about the dimensions of the top, I’ll post them below. Note that these are maximum dimensions. To get it to drop into the table easily the top will be ever so slightly smaller (about a 1/16th of an inch) These dimensions are now part of the design document


Elegant Bench design.

I see this as an HO railroad modeler’s “Basic Module” as described in many model railroad associations rules/specifiations. For this, the bench top would need to become a full 30" wide though, and there would need to be adjustment in deck height as well - usually to 40". Also this deck height must be adjustable by using height adjustment screws with a travel of around 3".

My second thought, and probably more lucrative/marketable, is to use the bench to develop a four (or maybe six?) module grouping for a work surface that would create a 51" x 72" work surface for wood working. I would see one bench module as the housing for a tail vise, one for a router table, one for tool storage, one for power distribution, one for dust collection, etc.

So I think that if I model this table, I would increase the height of the deck some, add vertical holes to accept leveling screws in the leg bottoms (that could double as caster mounts for those that insist) and leave the “burning man” stretcher/leg system elegantly supporting the modules of the project.

I almost always think of the final use of something like this as the “second use” of something else. In other words I will be thinking “packaging” of some relevant or related materials as the initial use of the bench…


We’d love to see how people can group these together to make a more interesting work area. Did you see how I set them up to link together?

I love your ideas about mods. If you look at the legs on both heights you can see a small straight section. This will allow people to get casters, and cut down the legs to maintain height. We’re not

For your other suggestions, such as increasing the width, I’ve designed this table so it’s pretty easy to do that.

Just to be clear, we’re developing this as an open source table, not as a marketable product. We want people to be able to download it an customize it and make their own using SketchUp.

@djkenkel For now though, to keep things more simple we’d love to see what you can come up with for a top.


Check out this submission!

Very cool. Keep 'em coming!

We have some very special submissions coming soon!

Read the article about this one here:


Thanks to Matt Donley over at for his submission!

Check it out on 3D Warehouse here

Keep 'em coming folks! We want to show off all kinds of interesting hacks at Maker Faire!