If you're like me, then you're probably working at the kitchen table, or at the computer desk and that doesn't cut it. I needed a bench. Not a bench to smash things against, or to hammer on... something light duty with a small work surface, good lighting, lots of AC outlets, and most importantly - compact.
That's where the idea of a folding hobby bench came from.
Step 1: Constraints
I had a place where I could put my bench, but it couldn't stay there permanently. I needed the option of tucking it away in a closet to "neaten up" for company etc.
My space was 30" wide, so I would design my bench to be 29" max width. Tabletop height would be comfortable to work at while seated - I based this on the height of my computer desk at 29" from the floor to the top of the table. I figured a decent sized working surface would be at least 12" deep. I also had a powerbar that I wanted to mount, and I thought some shelves would be handy for small parts etc. I wanted this thing to fold as thin as possible, and I figured if I could design it to be 4-5" thick when collapsed, that would be reasonable.
Those were my basic requirements.