Beginning the early days of additive fabrication, The Rapid Prototyping Mailing List (RPML) was a crucial continuous discussion among thousands of people. During those days and the years to come, it became an instrument of change.
Among the early participants that posted to the list included academic researchers and commercial people. Although the discussion on RPML is now over, the industry is far more commercial, and people have since moved on to other browser-based communications, and new specialized groups hosted on Google and other online platforms. However, the discussion which was recorded, represents the daily diary of the early days of the industry.
It is the most intimate and detailed source of historical information available concerning the subject during those early times. Some of the abstracts from the conversations are enumerated below. You can find edited and categorized archives at the RPML site currently under the auspices of Finnish Rapid Prototyping Association (FIRPA). They were formally located at the Helsinki University of Technology. You will find eighteen years of archives all arranged by the thread, date, author, and much more. The Compleat PPML Archives, nonetheless, are the entire contents of all conversations posted from January 11, 2001, to March 25, 2015. They are available in zipped files. These are comparable to thousands of pages of printed conversations, and can be used as a source of history, expert market and individual data, contact information, case studies, and advice. You can go to the RPML main page and feel free to join the RPML discussions or just prowl. You will get a comprehensive guide, on how to use the list and subscribe. However, be warned that today’s postings are few and far apart.
The conversations are transcribed into text files, and compressed into many zipped files, to make it easier to download and decompressed. It is easier to search for the files locally using text editors, or word processor on your PC. You can download according to your wish as it is not necessary to download the entire set. You can choose a file with recent information, or historical data among others.
The files contained here do not include email attachments, and may not be complete for the indicated dates. Texts that simply say, “Thanks,” are not usually saved. Nonetheless, there were few of such messages more so, from grad school students. Although HTML files have been terminated, you can still come across some remaining ones. Duplicate and Flame wars messages are also incorporated in the files.
A Useful File Search Tool
With InfoRapid, you can easily search for files and find them. Invented by Erkut Negis, this wonderful gem is a freeware written by Ingo Straub and allows search for text. You can search for text in almost any file including Boolean operators- (AND, NOT, OR, and NEAR), and phonetic searches. Still, you can view files with built-in viewers’ text, RFT, HTML, and other common image file formats like JPEG and BMP. The developers have tried to simplify the experience to make it possible for many people to access available data.