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What is OpenRP?

The STL (Stereolithography) file format is, and for the foreseeable future, will be the standard mode of data exchange in the Rapid Prototyping industry. It is a known fact that the STL file format does not employ efficient methods of data storage and lacks security. Over the years, attempts have been made to replace the STL file format with a better, efficient and secure alternative. Most of these attempts have been made by major RP software developers who, in one way or the other, have tried to derive financial benefit in the bargain.

OpenRP is not another attempt to replace the STL file format. OpenRP is a non-profit initiative by Deelip Menezes which aims at offering the RP industry an alternative mode of data exchange while maintaining perfect compatibility with the STL file format and without any loss of data whatsoever. OpenRP offers the RP industry a new RP file format and free software to read and write RP files. All software at this web site is and will always remain free. None of the applications, plug-ins or libraries will ever expire. You are urged to freely use the software for as long as you like.

The OpenRP Solution

The OpenRP initiative is an attempt to offer a comprehensive solution to the data exchange problem in RP industry. The OpenRP Solution offers RP users, RP service bureaus and RP software developers the tools required to incorporate the RP file format in their current workflow, products or services. The OpenRP Solution comprises of 5 components:

(1) RP File Format - A efficient and secure file format compatible with the STL file format.
(2) RP Viewer - An application to view, read, write and print RP and STL files.
(3) RP Plug-ins - Plug-ins for widely used CAD applications to read and write RP files.
(4) RP Converter - A command line program to convert between STL and RP file formats.
(5) RP Toolkit - A library to convert between STL and RP file formats.

RP File Format The RP file format is an efficient and secure file format created by the OpenRP initiative which is perfectly compatible with the STL file format. Data is compressed using state of the art compression algorithms thereby reducing the file size by 97% (when compared to an ASCII STL file) or 90% (when compared to a Binary STL file), which is much more than the compression achieved by WinZip or similar compression programs. The RP file format has two levels of security: file and user level. At the file level, the RP file is encrypted using the most advanced encryption algorithms. At the user level, security is provided by means of an optional user-defined password. There is absolutely no loss of data due to compression and encryption.

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RP Viewer RP Viewer is an application to view and print RP files, which doubles up as a bi-directional RP <-> STL file converter. Simply open a STL file and save it as a RP file. The RP file can then be sent to another party which can use RP Viewer to open the RP file and save it back to the original STL, without any loss of data whatsoever.

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RP Plug-ins RP file support is added to commonly used CAD applications, such as AutoCAD, SolidWorks, Solid Edge, Inventor, Alibre Design, SpaceClaim and Rhinoceros, by means of plug-ins. These plug-ins eliminate the need for RP Viewer in your workflow since they allow RP files to be read/written directly from the CAD applications.

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RP Converter RP Converter is a command line bi-directional translator program to convert STL to RP and vice versa. RP service bureaus can use RP Converter to add support for the RP file format in their existing automated systems.

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RP Toolkit RP Toolkit is a bi-directional translator library to convert STL to RP and vice versa. RP software developers can use RP Toolkit to add support for the RP file format in their applications.

more details and download...

What people are saying about the OpenRP Initiative

"I installed and tested the OpenRP software today and all I can say is well done! This is the full featured product so many users have been asking to have developed. The software is a very small download, lightning fast install and ultra low system resource usage. What more could we ask for. On behalf of our customers we thank you for your effort."

Bill Bounds, Alpha Prototypes


"RP Viewer looks nice - a robust piece of freeware. My immediate use of the RP file format will be as a compressor for STL files. I've been using the .mgx format, but that's only useful with correspondents who have Magics; it's helpful to have a small format where the expander is free."

Bathsheba Grossman, CAD/CAM Sculptor


"The encryption is well done and the compression is great."

David Weathers, Tel-Med Technologies
"Imaging and Instruments for the 21st Century"

"If the format is so open : 'OpenRP', where is the source and a description of the algorithms used?"

Raymond Kurzweil

Our response: "If we made the source code and algorithms public, then the security of the RP file format would be compromised. Anyone with a little bit of programming knowledge would be able to write a program to bypass the password in a RP file. The OpenRP solution gives you all the tools you need to get STL data from a RP file. So under normal circumstances one should not be bothered with the innards of the RP file format... unless you are interested in bypassing the password."

Contributing to the OpenRP Initiative

If you feel you can contribute to the OpenRP Initiative in some way please contact us.

Your valuable feedback and constructive criticism is vital to the success of this initiative. Please click here to send us your feedback.


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