Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Engineering Assistance

  1. Jan 27, 2006 #1

    I've come up with an idea that I think is feasable and, if so, useful and possibly lucrative.

    However, I've got no serious engineering or physics background and am thus looking to get some assistance with my project.

    How do I go about finding someone to assist with this project - to handle details, calculations, and bounce ideas off of?

    I am not necessarily interested in only people in my area, but I'm also not sure about the business aspects in "telecommuting" - contracts, payments, etc.

    I live in Austin, TX so I'd imagine there are a number of engineering students at UT who'd possibly have the skill set, but then again I dont have the time or interest in weeding out skilled candidates from unskilled ones.

    Finally, I'm certainly willing to compensate for any assistance.

    So my question is, "Who do I ask and how do I go about finding them?"


    PS - I can't really outbid Lockheed Martin for salaries (yet, ha), so I guess the offer does have limits. :grumpy:
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 28, 2006 #2


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    My suggestion would be to contact a professional engineer (licensed) that specializes in the area of interest you are persuing. If not for the long haul, then simply as a consultation. If it is indeed a new, lucrative possibility, a licensed professional will be able to help you in the other areas in terms of intellectual property, etc... that you would undoubtedly run into problems with.
  4. Jan 28, 2006 #3
    And thats the sort of thing I can just find in the phone book or the internet?
  5. Jan 28, 2006 #4


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Just don't disclose the details to anyone.

    When you decide on discussing the details with anyone, have them sign a non-disclosure agreement.

    The patent requirements are very specific - the claims are the key - and that is what is protected.

    To patent an idea, it must meet 3 criteria - new, useful and nonobvious.

    www.uspto.gov is a good place for information.

    If you wish, you can bounce of ideas here, as long as they are general in nature. We could point you toward the right science or engineering discipline. For example, if it is a new energy source or something related to transportation, we might point you toward a mechanical engineer, or perhaps civil engineering as the case may be.
  6. Jan 29, 2006 #5


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes. A lot of university professors also consult on the side as well. Like Astronuc said, the intellectual claims are very important and the non-disclosure agreement is essential. That is why I would recommend a licensed individual. The fact that they are licensed says that the individual agrees to work by a set of engineering guidelines and principless, one of which is a pretty well defined code of ethics. Plus, if the person has a business and things get ugly, it's a heck of a lot easier going after that person legally than some guy at a college.

    Do whatever you can to protect yourself and your interests.
  7. Jan 29, 2006 #6


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    I'd go to after the colleges as well. You can get yourself some slave-labor by getting a senior design project team to help you develop your idea. :biggrin: (After they've signed the NDA written by your lawyer, of course...)
  8. Jan 30, 2006 #7
    Yikes. The college route is sounding better and better. Just got off the phone with an engineering design firm - $100 an hour is the starting price for consultation. :yuck:
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Have something to add?