You ask what's wrong with .STL? Lots, it turns out. The 1987 vintage standard is so old you could legally buy it a beer in most states. As RapidToday points out, an entire industry has emerged simply to fix broken .STL files. Worse, the standard is so deficient that some printer manufacturers have invented their own proprietary standards or extensions. While these proprietary standards might work for an individual equipment manufacturer, it doesn't help the industry as a whole.
There are obvious deficiencies, such as colors, materials, etc., but according to RapidToday, .STL also needs:
- Better accuracy in representing curved surfaces
- Surface texturing requirements
- Buildability verification (leak patching)
- Inclusion of metadata (e.g. authorship and copyright information)
The STL file format doesn't just lack these capabilities, it also has a few inherent problems: file size is excessive, file security is limited, and it can't detect or fix errors (especially unintended holes) in the part to be built.