Condense the Nonsense: Workshop Organization

By Glowforge

Challenge: Develop an organization solution that maximizes safety, efficiency, and space to improve your classroom or workshop.

Identify and transform points of clutter, disorganization, and difficulty through simple organizational solutions made with Glowforge.

Facilitation Guide


In manufacturing, logistical workflows and the storage locations of materials can have a huge impact on efficiency, quality, safety and costs. Your school’s workshop or classroom is no different! These spaces must fit the needs of everyone utilizing them. Your classroom or workshop must work for a variety of different projects, workflows, and learning styles. Because of this, it’s vital that these spaces are efficient, safe, and productive. Ideally, your workshop or classroom should empower everyone to thrive and create.

Throughout this challenge, you’ll develop manufacturing logistics and inventory skills and put them to work in your classroom or workshop. Start by identifying areas where you could improve organization by partnering with stakeholders, like your classmates, teachers, or anyone else who uses the space. You’ll work to understand their needs and then manufacture creative solutions for these environments.

Manufacturers are increasingly using 2D and 3D print technology to develop innovative solutions for organization and workflows. Glowforge is the ideal tool to manufacture physical prototypes and bring products to life. Its ability to cut, engrave, and score a range of materials into full products or individual product components makes it great for customizing solutions for your space and workflow.


Research and explore workshop organization. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • What impact can an organized workspace have? What are the benefits for a manufacturer, maker, or engineer? Be sure to explore the financial, health and safety, and efficiency implications.

  • What areas could be improved in your classroom or workshop? Think about the physical spaces as well as the processes that happen within these workspaces.

  • Check out 32 Ideas: Organize Your Workshop & Garage Storage for additional ideas.

  • How do people currently use the workshop? Spend some time getting to know your stakeholders—people, groups or individuals who use the workshop—by observing and talking with them.

  • Are there any existing pain points in the space? Are there bottlenecks that prevent the workshop from operating more efficiently? Consider interviewing or surveying the stakeholders to understand their experiences better.

  • What documentation exists for your workshop? How are workshop expectations shared?

  • It’s a good idea to learn about joinery for this challenge. Many storage or organizational solutions have pieces that will need to connect and some may even have movement. For additional joinery ideas, explore the Glowforge Community forum or the article Joinery: Joints for Laser Cut Assemblies for additional resources.

Explore Tip

Use the Glowforge App to add personality to existing storage or organization within your workshop. These can be functional or purely aesthetic additions. Watch IKEA Hacks with Glowforge for inspiration!

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on the research you did for your design.

  • Which issue or challenge has the biggest impact on your workshop?
  • What organization techniques do you think will be the most helpful to resolve the issues you identified?

In the next stage, you’ll brainstorm some solutions for your chosen workspace. Before moving on, are there any other resources or techniques you’d like to explore?


Brainstorm and experiment with different techniques for meeting your stakeholders’ workshop needs. Think of as many techniques or ideas as you can! You don’t need to worry about whether they’re good or bad—just get creative! Think about:

  • What are the needs or challenges that you discovered in the Explore stage?
  • What are some possible solutions to these challenges? Are there any that you could address with a low cost solution and high impact result?
  • Will you need to develop or adapt an organization product, process, or both?
  • Perhaps a peer has an idea that works well with yours — collaborate to make both of your ideas even better.

Ideate Tip

Adam Savage, widely known from his work on Mythbusters, suggests that creating a mini-workshop helps visualize and optimize a workshop. Models can help you identify patterns within the shop, understand the present organization, and develop new solutions.

Reflect and Review

At this point, you probably have many possible solutions to help organize your workshop. Take a moment to reflect on the techniques and ideas you brainstormed.

  • Can you group any similar ideas together?
  • Do any of your ideas stand out as favorites? Which ideas might you disregard?

In the next stage you’ll narrow your ideas to one or two concepts to fully design. Are there any points to consider before you move on?


Review the ideas you brainstormed and select one or two that you would like to develop further by creating sketches, models, or digital mockups. Consider the following:

  • What tools and materials do you need to develop your design idea(s) using your Glowforge?

  • What software tools can you use, in addition to the Glowforge App, to help you model the full solution? Can you use CAD software like SketchUp or AutoCAD to help you model in 3D?

  • Consider using MakerCase to create custom storage designs that you can import into the Glowforge App.

  • Will you have to use joinery in your design? What techniques will you use?

  • Will you need to adjust the scale or size of your design?

  • What will you need to communicate or document about your solution? Think of the details of your solution and how you can express the changes to the stakeholders and users in the workshop. Create documentation that follows your workshop’s specifications or requirements.

Design Tip

The Glowforge app can cut or engrave from SVG files. Design your joinery in CAD software, like AutoCAD or Fusion360, and then follow these steps for tips on exporting your design as an SVG file.

Scaling the pieces of your design can help reuse an idea to meet multiple workshop organization needs. Select the Ruler tool in the Glowforge app to bring up a menu for changing the scale of an item. Review the Glowforge Community Forum or the Scale Designs Precisely help page for more tips and tricks for scaling designs.

Reflect and Review

Now that you have spent time developing your organizational solutions, take a moment to reflect on the progress of your design.

  • What challenges did you encounter designing your solution?
  • Does your design include artistic or aesthetic elements that add personality to your design?
  • How will your design fit and function in the designated space?

You’re almost ready to create your organizational designs! Consider if there is anything you’d like to change in your design before you start creating.


Select one fully developed design. Using Glowforge, print a prototype of your design using appropriate materials. Consider the following:

  • How long will your design take to create and assemble?
  • What material(s) will you use for your design?
  • Do the pieces of your design fit together correctly?
  • Does the prototype work as you expected?
  • Are you able to use your design in other ways than you initially planned?

Prototype Tip

Check out the Glowforge User Manual to learn more about how to print safely when considering different manufacturing materials that are durable and easy to use.

Reflect and Review

Before moving on to the Evaluation section, think about the prototypes you manufactured and tested during this stage.

  • What do you notice about the manufacturing techniques you used throughout your process?
  • How did the materials and assembly impact its functionality?
  • Is there anything you want to revisit about your design?


After manufacturing and testing your prototype, it’s time for feedback. Share your documentation and demonstrate your solution with your stakeholders or peers. You may consider having them try out your solution and record observations regarding production workflow or safety. Here are some sample questions to ask your peers in order to get useful and actionable feedback so you can make any needed adjustments to your design:

  • Is the final design helpful? Does it work as intended?
  • How does the design impact and enhance our current processes?
  • How did the use of digital tools enhance the organizational solution?
  • How can I further improve and refine my design?

Evaluate Tip

Let your evaluators try out your organizational solution. Collect their feedback using an interactive whiteboard, such as Padlet, or video discussion platform, such as Flip. This will allow you to watch how they use the tool and replay their assessment.

Reflect and Review

Take a moment to reflect on the feedback you received from others.

  • What aspects of your design do you need to revisit or adjust?
  • Are there stages in the design process that you would like to return to in order to make these adjustments?

Once you have completed and finalized your design, share it with a larger audience!

Share your students' creations on social media! Post your photos and use the hashtag #GlowforgeEDU and tag us @glowforge for the chance to be featured.