Excellent idea and I'm glad to see Heretic liking it as well. If this is tied into visiting the bridge/engineering like the other DOff special assignments... it would just make it so much richer.
With more stuff like this and perhaps integrating crafting and modding of items... the DOff system could really be the "Glue" that holds it all together and makes these things in the game just come together and meet in the middle. I think with a focus on that, it wouldn't be it's own self contained mini game that the devs were worried it could turn into. (referring to Heretic's interview on STOked).
Also, can we get the engineering NPC to wander within engineering? Make him look like he's actually working for me instead of day dreaming in the same spot! :p
I don't think solo crafting is a horrible thing but the biggest issue is with crafting there are very few things in crafting that are worth crafting...
As for the KDF one nice thing to be seen in crafting is if we could craft like say a bat'leth and be able to use some kind of ability in the crafting system to determine its stats and also the way it looks....
I think that's where crafting has to go to be a useful method of equipment acquisition that is worth the grind to level up in and (current) input (especially the dilithium) cost:
1) make items from crafting different from other sources (even differing between factions),
2) make modding of existing items possible (i.e. replace a dmg mod with a acc mod, chance of failure),
3) item compressor (i.e. take 3 green mk XI assault weapons to "field fabricate" a guaranteed blue mk XI assault weapon with a chance for a purple and/or a unique mod like +15 physic damage vs. Borg),
4) item deconstruction (to create data samples from, chance of less/more based on roll), and/or
5) component research (i.e. "reverse-engineer" a shield or "datalog scan" a mob-dropped tricorder to obtain non-crafting items, like prototype plans or Reman datalogs).
I can see all of the above possible with the DOff system (if/when item type/category can be used as an input instead of specific items)... and very "fun" (and by that, I mean "hurtful to my career, health, personal life, and bank account").