Agreed. The only arguable one is Roughneck, but if you seriously haven't fashioned $450 worth of ammo and grenades, you are playing the game wrong. The extra point of armor is hardly worth it.
As for the appearance, I hardly care. I've got a friend who laughed at me because of my goggles, but he's got his fallout new Vegas character hooked up with pieces of four different armor sets for the bonuses. Besides, it is a first person game and you hardly see your character.
A bit into the game (spoiler) you get a schematic for something called adophis infusion.
(Via plants you collect, you make a drug that gives you more max health.)
Being a fabricator, you get one more health point per drug. there are more than five adophis infusions so eventually, a fabricator will have enough health to outweigh the roughnecks armor.
Already knew that, so yeah... I think I understand. I just thought it would be a tad redundant to state that fabricator gives you a whopping five (5!) hitpoints over the entire game. I would say its more practical use is the enhanced production of special ammunition, then the enhanced durability of sentries, but it is kind of hard to quantify the latter without raw stats from a strat guide.