Kubrick's 2001 Monolith - Full-scale replica - Completed

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metaform3d

New Member
Back in summer 2020, when it started to dawn on me that we were going to be in lockdown for an extended period, I decided I wanted to stretch myself and create something big. Something bigger than I would normally consider possible. This took four months to build and almost as long to find people to install it into my yard. A few days ago it was completed, and I'm very happy with the result. I hope you like it too.

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I've been fascinated with this object most of my life, and creating my own version has given me a special appreciation of how it can dominate a space and almost create its own reality. I know it barely compares in complexity to many of the prop builds showcased here, but it represented a whole set of unique challenges for me.

Build photos will follow later in this thread.
 

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metaform3d

New Member
The monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey -- the one Kubrick designed and approved -- was 8" deep by 53" wide by 129" tall. That's my answer from research and studying stills from the movie. Fight me.

Adam Savage said (and I'm paraphrasing) that you don't need to know how to accomplish an entire project, you just have to know what is the next step. I think without that advice I wouldn't have dared start on this. I knew that the first feature of this inhumanly precise rectangular prism was making very straight edges. I also wanted it light. So I began by making box beams for each side.

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metaform3d

New Member
How was it going to stand upright? My answer was to have two standard fence posts, but I didn't want them rigidly attached because this was an outdoor sculpture and was going to expand and contract in the weather. So four feet up inside the monolith there would be a rail that would capture the posts and allow them to support the structure of the box. I used steel angle strips to grab the posts and hold up the box, while using carefully placed holes to keep the posts aligned.

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joberg

Master Member
Very cool "prop"...seems that you're living in a fairly dry State (hence the wood structure). You're right about the Monolith; the space it occupies is rather mysterious.(y)(y)
 

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Markus

Well-Known Member
I am impressed! This is a fantastic result. The challenge of the build is due to the simplicity of the object plus its size. It has to be perfect - and you achieved that!
 

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metaform3d

New Member
The OSB cladding has a smooth side and a fuzzy side, and except for one mistake I put the fuzzy side out. That was so it would stick to the coating, for which I used Easy-Sand joint compound. Sanding was mostly by hand using a rasp that I had configured (bent) to have a flat side. The final pass I made using an orbital sander, and my shop will have traces of that dust forever.

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el toro

Sr Member
How was it going to stand upright? My answer was to have two standard fence posts, but I didn't want them rigidly attached because this was an outdoor sculpture and was going to expand and contract in the weather. So four feet up inside the monolith there would be a rail that would capture the posts and allow them to support the structure of the box. I used steel angle strips to grab the posts and hold up the box, while using carefully placed holes to keep the posts aligned.

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Back in summer 2020, when it started to dawn on me that we were going to be in lockdown for an extended period, I decided I wanted to stretch myself and create something big. Something bigger than I would normally consider possible. This took four months to build and almost as long to find people to install it into my yard. A few days ago it was completed, and I'm very happy with the result. I hope you like it too.

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View attachment 1465726
View attachment 1465727

I've been fascinated with this object most of my life, and creating my own version has given me a special appreciation of how it can dominate a space and almost create its own reality. I know it barely compares in complexity to many of the prop builds showcased here, but it represented a whole set of unique challenges for me.

Build photos will follow later in this thread.
This is so absolutely awesome.
 

metaform3d

New Member
Painting was just 3-5 coats of flat black exterior latex. Once the surfacing was complete it could be removed from the rotational jig. I used my car's jack to hoist it gently off the sawhorses and lower it onto a pair of furniture movers. I then removed the bottom bushing and unthreaded the 13 feet of conduit pipe that served as axis. Finally I inserted the galvanized steel fence posts and secured them with pipe hanger strap (not shown).

In this form it sat in my garage/shop for 3 1/2 months while I worked out what to do next.

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metaform3d

New Member
I had difficulty finding someone to install the monolith into my yard. I figured it was like an art installation so I kept looking for landscape companies in local business lists which turned out not to be correct. I also have social anxiety and have to work up the courage to make phone calls, so that slowed things down a lot. Nobody ever got back to me. It languished and gathered dust.

My wife eventually observed that anyone who could put up a fence could do this job, and there are a lot of fence companies. In fact our mow & blow people do fences. They gave me a bid and I accepted immediately.

Installation Day arrived:

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They bored out two post holes and "Iwo-Jima"-ed the thing upright with the posts in the holes. Then they progressively filled the holes with dry concrete while they compacted it and nudged the monolith into level. And this is where I discovered a potentially fatal flaw in my design. The posts were designed to bear load, however they were only loosely attached in the opposite direction -- just enough so they wouldn't fall out. They eventually had it very close to level but off by about half a degree. They tried to pry the box up on that side but the connection was too loose to budge the post in the compacted cement powder, and if they pried harder they might have pulled the screws out that held the post to the box. I eventually called it and that's the way it sits now. You really can't tell.

As you can see it was quite dirty and a bit chipped after installation, but spraying down with a hose and a little touch-up paint fixed it up.

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13doctorwho

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I think those of us that build things know that, despite the simple shape, large projects like this are a lot of planning and work. Looks great!!!
 

Markus

Well-Known Member
Wonderful!
To improve the overall experience, you could have paid them to install it during the night on an unspecified day.
So, when you wake up it just mysteriously appeared. :D
 

eethan

Sr Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
amazing! seeing the final object was cool but seing the whole process and the install gives it a complete different dimenssion! also the scale with people next to it, didn't realized it was that big in the first photo! quite awesome. thanks for sharing (y)
 

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