Historically mould makers and automotive industries uses surface modelling oppose to solid modelling programs such as Catia for obvious reasons, as I’ve touched on this myself (lightly). But when it comes to functioning / engineering side they used solid modelling at it core.
Parametric Solid > Mesh will always be an issue, so I’m not sure where you get the 99.5% considering there are whole sector of engineers who use Solid programs at it core (maybe including Catia parametric surfaces), but definitely not Mesh STL.
Ask any engineers and they will tell you STL should only reserved for 3d printing industry and nothing else.
Even in FEA, CFD analysis like Nastran, Ansys (even the build in ones in SW & Proe) they use dynamic resolution control and not import as STL to generate polygon calculations.
By default it is visually unacceptable, if I hadn’t increase the resolution settings. There are situation where I had to use 3d prototyping services (for engineering) and I can tell you that if they printed at default resolutions (usually less than 0.5 million polygons) then I will definitely see facets / scan line as I’ve demonstrated for these battery covers and I will be in a position to reject those samples considering most of them charge each model around $100 - $800 (depending on build volume, model complexity & other visual requirements).
So no, I will not accept default resolution as the norm considering I’ve already paid a lot for consumables, because 3d printing as a whole is actually a very simple idea. In fact the core functions is no different to those SLA machines back in the early 80s.
The best way to describe Stratasys & 3D system = Kodak cameras, high cost in consumables, unwilling to develop new technology (using film instead of digital), almost everything is lockdown rather than open source. So I have no issue to see these 2 shrink, because I’ve already lost faith with them at least 15 years ago.
Most of the RepRap settings and functions actually borrowed from Stratasys FDM 2000. The major differences (beside it size) is that RepRap is open vented to allow for much cheaper construction, whereas Statasys machines are enclosed heated chamber., meaning by default Stratasys machines require less tweaking with more reliable prints. I’ve noticed enthusiast market headed into this direction as well e.g. Z18, 3dgence, Cubicon, Sindoh, Vshaper.
In fact look at the CatalytEX you will notice there is hardly any tweaks when committing to a print, whereas RepRap software had to over complicate itself in order to make it work e.g. feed speed, temp, bed speed, shell & etc.
Open source is a good place to start (for any kickstarter machines), but not that good when it comes to refining it when having new hardware. Which is why Formlabs turn away from it which is partly sponsored by Autodesk Netfabb, because AutoDesk told me they wanted to unified most of the enthusiast machines under one software (go to > Machine library). But Netfabb become a red-herring since the departure of Amber.
I’m quite happy to buy Netfabb software, as it has the feature that I need, but not under the basis of a legacy software (without a chance of update) and slap on an annual subscription fee rather than a fixed pricing in which Autodesk said they decide not to develop Amber any further (you can probably still find it somewhere). In another word, Autodesk is using their software development to try to cash-in from the enthusiast market (very disingenuous).
What annoying is that the newer so called professional printers like Desktop Metal now copy the functions as found in enthusiast FDM software such as RepRap.
Anyway, pouring money can turn them into a controlling giant without any new innovation. For the 15-20 years working with professional machines, I haven’t seen any real innovation or development.
That s why I bought the Form2 as a secondary, like I said Form2 including Preform is heading in the right direction, but it software require refinement to fullfill those people who use Solid modelling / engineers as we (I) notices it will hit a brick wall when doing anything with details in which the Form2 is capable off.
I even forgo the traditional right-way up SLA printing technique before considering this machine. Eventhough it introduces more issues when printing under this technique.
However, they seem to think it OK (for now) not to develop continuous SLA for Form3 considering other machines are already out there such as continuous DLP (e.g. Carbon3D, Nexa NX1). Formlab even tries to rebut this claim by releasing this document.
Suggesting DLP pixel size is larger than their own UV point diameter (superior at x,Y resolutions), but you can actually get a 4k panel for $40 of this size.
Finally, Formlab is probably the most profitable enthusiast 3D printers company out there with world wide sales network for almost 8 years now. So yeah Formlab is a business.