The Discovery spacecraft from Stanley Kubrick's 2001 changed science fiction cinema forever. Nearly all movie spaceships up to that point took their visual language from aircraft; they were smooth and aerodynamic and assumed a gravitational up and down.
The Discovery deliberately ignored that convention. It was designed first and foremost as a vessel for deep space, and its form followed this function. Its long, slender shape would crack under the slightest gravity, but was ideal for keeping the spherical pressure hull of the crew module away from the radioactive power plant and engine. Far from being streamlined, the surface of the Discovery was absolutely covered in panels, pipes, and other mechanical elements that marked it as a complex, working machine.
This revolution in form language has been with us ever since. Even though real spacecraft are actually covered in heat-reflecting mylar and micrometeorite absorbing blankets, film spaceships all have the coating of "greeble" pioneered by Discovery.
I designed this from scratch using only reference images from the movie itself. Scale is about 160 : 1, assembled length 115 cm. Total print time was about 90 hours.
The name of each STL file contains its instructions for printing. The last part after the underscore starts with a number which is the number of times you will need to print that part. There are also optional letters after the number for special instructions. Everything prints in the provided orientation without support unless otherwise indicated.
- S - needs support
- P - probably needs support, but may print OK without it
- M - when printing 2, print one normally and scale the other by -1 to make a mirror image
- A - part has an alternate, so only one form needs to be used
The parts are designed for a 0.25 inch steel rod as backbone. I used a 36 inch long rod because that's what my local hardware store carries, but a slightly longer one would be better if you can find one. The details are designed to the limit of my printer, about 100 microns, so if your printer is more coarse the model may end up muddy. It was also designed for my small print volume, so it could certainly be scaled up for a larger printer, provided you could find an appropriate rod. Or you could use the thinner rod and print adapters.
The parts can cope with a certain amount of warping. For example the cargo modules (in one alternate) have deeper hollows on the center bottom because the base tends to warp up on the edges so the center is effectively thicker. Other parts have voids and waffle patterns on their bottoms to provide slack. Despite all that warping remains an issue, and some parts will need to be sanded or otherwise adjusted to fit. Use putty to fill gaps and cracks before painting.