For software hackers/developers there are many.
However, I need a hardware guy (or girl?) for a relatively small project.
Is there a site where I can search for people and see ranks, recommendation, etc.?
Harware engineers, mechanical engineers are less likely to contract. You you might have a better chance finding is a contract manufacturer or contract design firm.
You will have a hard time finding what you are looking for on a contract basis because: 1. Most good mechanical engineers have full time jobs (which are secure) 2. Hardware engineering varies greatly, and can require a huge investment in research and labs, this is very different than software.
If you are price conscious do your research in Singapore, Taiwan, S Korea and other south east asian countries that have a good reputation for this type of work, and respect your your property rights.