As far as I know, STL meshes don't have any normals - try this:

1. select an object
2. go to the Object Parameters window
3. scroll down to the Display section
4. make sure Smoothing is set to 'Smooth'
5. set the Smoothing Angle to something like 60.0
6. click 'Recalc'

This should create smoothed normals for your object, so that it won't render with a faceted appearance.
cheers. the recalculate smoothing function seems to work on the model, as seen in shaded viewport. however, from here on the program stalls completely when trying to save project, and fails to initiate computing process when launched in maxwell render. the same behaviour happens on another computer also.
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