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3d texture resolution/facet limit

Question asked by Chris Hambidge on Aug 25, 2020

I would like to produce high resolution .stl files of patterned, warped surfaces for 3d printing. Since explicitly modelling the texture elements onto an irregular surface would be beyond a nightmare, the 3d texture option seems ideal. However, I have been running into some problems regarding scalability. 


As a trial of the feature, I've managed to get the process working (more or less) nicely for one surface of a small flat rectangular tile; I can apply my image and through adjusting the 'texture refinement' and 'maximum element size', get a high quality discretization of the pattern. However, when I try to scale this trial up to a larger geometry, I'm unable to meet the same level of detail because the 'maximum element size' slider bottoms-out at a larger number (i.e. it won't allow the maximum element size to be as low as with the smaller surface).


I presume that there is some internal calculation which caps the maximum number of facets which would be produced over the body (seems to be around 0.5 million). I understand this is likely designed to avoid impossibly demanding meshes and resulting system crashes. However, is there anyway to lift this facet limit through the settings? Is it one-size-fits-all, or dependent on calculated hardware capabilities? (i.e. will a better machine solve this?)


I notice that I am able to load multiple parts into an assembly each below the apparent facet limit, but overall summing to much beyond it, so it seems solidworks can handle "that much data", though I'm sure this is an oversimplification!


Aside from this, I would welcome any suggestions for workarounds. For example, is there a way to subdivide my surface and texturise the parts in Solidworks but then reliably stitch it back together somehow. I should note that the end use of the printed parts is for scientific rather than aesthetic application, so the accuracy of the texture elements are paramount, meaning any seams would need to be near perfectly matched.