The workbench allows inventors to buy scrap to make a variety of objects, such as the time machine or the harvester. It raises the handiness skill very slowly, and is not a good primary skill object for Handy Sims. Overall a great tool to advance the Inventing skill.
When a Sim is commanded to invent rather than making a previously discovered invention, the Sim is subject to a risk of fire no matter the level: a sim having mastered the skill is just as likely to be lit on fire as a sim who just started inventing. Before a sim has any skill in inventing, the option to invent is replaced by dabbling, where no objects can be found. This is in direct contrast to the other Ambition skill Sculpting, where a sim mastering the said skill can expect to finish a metal sculpting without blowing it up.