Using the services of online freelancers connects potters and small ceramic producers to expert engineering talent at low cost.
There are many freelancer websites online, this is the one we know. Services like these, that offer thousands of skills, will completely disrupt the world of engineering, putting inexpensive engineering talent at the service of everyone.
Upwork charges a percentage but other wise it is free (unless you need advanced features). It can be tempting to move your interaction with a consultant outside of Upwork, but the platform they provide to organize, pay and search is compelling enough that you will come back. Consultants are trying to build reputation, and you, as an employer need to do the same.
It will cost money to learn the system. The biggest mistakes you make early on will be failure to describe precisely what you want. Freelancers can be very anxious to please and will do more that you want (which often means not what you want). So break jobs up into small pieces, called Milestones, and pay at each stage (not by the hour). Some projects will go bad, the consultant will take you down an impractical path. That money will be lost, but think of it as saving you all the trouble and lost time. And it is education.
If you just search for the skill you need the first hits may be charging $50 and hour. Refine the search to India or Asia it will drop to $5-10. Do not be intimidated by hiring people in Asia, the Middle East, Oceania and Africa. They will smash every preconception you have about ability, proficiency with English and motivation. And give you a respect for the kinds of university systems that have been developed around the world.
When posting a job follow instructions carefully. State clearly exactly what kind of person you need to do what kind of job. Learn enough of the jargon of the discipline so that you can correspond clearly with them. How do you pick the right one from the dozens who might respond? The one who is most specific about being able to help you. Many just send a resume while others will actually do some work on the job and submit that with their application. Don't pass up a keener like that. Once you find a good person, stick with them. That being said, sometimes you need to hire a pro, maybe they can do as much in an hour as someone else can in a week.
Be ready to work with their idiosyncrasies. They might disappear for a week without a word, later reporting they went to a religious festival. Deadline mentalities will not likely work well, be patient. Some have a short attention span but are very knowledgable, use them to solve specific issues. Once you make friends with someone, you can ask them a question anytime (using the messaging area) and they will often answer for free. Some people will return your money if they do not think they did a good enough job! Accept it, learn and move on.
Use your interaction with consultants as an educational experience, so that you can learn what they are doing and be independent. Consultants will often convince you to do something a different way that you intended. A better way. Once you build a relationship with someone, keep a contract open with them and each time you have a question you are confident they can answer, pay a bonus of $10 or $20 and then ask it. The answer will come quickly with many thanks. This is way better than googling!
Who to be careful of people who do not share knowledge (e.g. how to do something in 3D software program). When you find someone good they will even make videos showing exactly how they did it. Watch out for people who do not communicate, they often think they know better and do the job in a completely different way than you want. And you do not need to deal with people who demand money, there is so much talent out there and so many really nice people you don't need to work with such ones. That being said, be generous when someone does a good job.
Create a folder on a cloud drive named "Upwork" and keep everything from each project in its own folder inside that.
Notice I have done the search: "3d printing fusion 360". Initially it showed many North Americans, who typically charge $30-50/hr. But notice I have refined the search and specified India and Bangladesh. This cuts the price by half or three quarters. Notice that the highlighted consultant, although advertising as hourly, also does 'fixed price' work. And on the other jobs, notice how happy the client was and that he worked many more than the required hours (reducing the hourly earnings). At the prices Asian engineers charge you can afford to pay them plenty of bonuses (part of the Upwork system) to keep good relations. Their skills are exceptional, they will make you look good!
Standard 3D printing technology (not printing with clay itself) is very useful to potters and ceramic industry in making objects that assist and enable production.
2019 Jiggering-Casting Project