- One of the worlds tallest 3D printed Kinetic Structure

In the summer of 2018, I shipped one of the largest 3D printed design and manufacturing projects I've ever undertaken.(Probably the largest in the world at the time) 

Here is a link to it : 

It is a large scale kinetic sculpture commissioned by a world famous designer name Zivo .

This project was a turning point for me, in terms of utilizing additive manufacturing to build large scale products; I had only ever used additive manufacturing to fabricate small parts, and reflections took me over the edge, not just from an engineering perspective but also from a design and artistic angle. I was forced to think out of the bounding box of my machine (3D printer ) and put together a work of art that accurately portrayed  the message  being conveyed.

Reflections is all about balance, the three sculptures directly correspond to a nuclear family - The father, The mother, and The son. 

Set at a towering height of almost 5 meters for the father , 4.5 meters for the mother and 4 meters for the son, the family is perched on a dome ( the dome of life) that functions just like a Rolly Poly toy, only magnanimous !!.

Weighing in over 3 tons, the entire sculpture moves when the figurines catch the wind just like a sail, they sway from side to side, rolling over till the edge of their world and then due to counterbalancing of the weight of the family, they all roll back in, representing  the ever present and balancing force of family in our Human lives. 

Reflections ask's us the question: Where are we without the ones we love ??

Up vote if you like my work.

How to configure Discourse on Amazon Web services (AWS)

This guide will help you install the Discourse forum software on Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS AWS EC2 instance with domain routing on AWS Route 53, SMTP on AWS SES and SSL certificate.

About Discourse : Discourse is an open source, feature rich  forum software built and managed by one of the most amazing teams on the internet today. Its also led by the great Jeff Atwood, this guy is a genius, he is also the co founder and developer of, yes he is great. I highly recommend reading his blog ( Source to his blog ), which is well written and maintained for over 15 years !!! Yes very few blogs like his on the internet. 

Discourse allows people like me, to have a fully functional forum software, almost like Wordpress for web sites, and its awesome. Check out this website I made with discourse in just a couple of hours to track and have a conversation regarding the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic :  colloquium-19 .


Hardware Requirements for Discourse:

  • modern single core CPU, dual core recommended
  • 1 GB RAM minimum (with swap)
  • 64 bit Linux compatible with Docker
  • 10 GB disk space minimum

Software and Infrastructure Requirements:

  • Email address 
  • Amazon Web Services account 
  • SMTP details from Amazon SES
  • A domain name 

Github link :

For this set up we will be using the following services on AWS:

1- AMAZON EC2 - Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS instance.

2- AMAZON Simple Email Service ( SES) - SMTP 

3- Route 53 domain hosting and routing.

Along with AWS we shall use the following software packages through their command line interfaces:

1- Docker 

2- Discourse 

Step 1 : Configure Ubuntu on AWS EC2

1- Login to AWS - 

If you do not have an AWS account , you can sign up for a free trial and you will receive 750 hours of EC2 compute hours, 5 GB of S3 storage and many other great Amazon Web services for free, for the first 12 months.

2- Once you have created your account navigate to the EC2 option under compute, when you click on the services menu.

Once your in the Instances dashboard, at this point my suggestion would be to select the correct region in AWS. For this example and many of my projects I use North Virginia Usa east-1, due to a host of reasons like : cost , latency , & features,

 3- Choose the region which is closest to you or your target market, from the drop down menu on the top right. 

4- Click on the instances option on the left menu bar.

5- Now select the blue colored launch Instance button 

Next you will find your self in the AWS market place , here you can find the list of all images of the operating systems available on AWS EC2. 

6- In the top search bar type in Ubuntu , the first option that will be displayed is the ubuntu configuration we are looking for : Ubuntu Server 18.04 LTS (HVM). Select the instance by clicking the blue select button on the right.

Select the instance type, for a fully functional website with 1000's of users, you should use at least a t3a.small instance with 2 GB of RAM memory and 2 Virtual cpus, that can be utilized to handle heavier work loads. For this example we will use a t2.micro instance, which is eligible for the free tier usage by AWS, it has 1 GB RAM and 1 Vcpu , the bare minimum required to run Discourse.

7- Select t2.micro , with 1 GB Memory RAM and 1 Vcpu. 

8- Next click configure instance details , do not change anything here, click on Next:add storage.

Click add storage, the next part is important as AWS by default allocates only 8 GB of SSD memory to your instance. The required memory is at least 10 GB, not including back ups. My recommendation is to allocate at least 20 GB of memory to your EC2 instance, in case you will be utilizing heavy images and expect many users.

9- Allocate 20 GB of memory to your instance.

Next configure the security group, this is a very important step for AWS instances and is a major source of errors and wrong configuration problems, we have to make sure HTTPS, HTTP, SSH, and SMTP protocols are receivable by the instance.

 10- First name the security group, here we have name it as: launch-wizard-Discourse, then click add rule and add HTTPS, HTTP, SMTP, with default port numbers 443,80, and 25. SSH will be enabled by default , but my recommendation is to white list only your IP address, in the source section, to prevent any attacks.

11- Click review and launch, take the time to check your instance settings.

12- Click Launch.

At this point you will be prompted to select an existing authentication key or use a pre-existing one. For the sake of safety I would suggest you to create a new key pair, this is important as using the key is the only way you will be able to login to your instance.

13- Select create a new key pair from the drop down menu, and name the key pair, here we have used : Discourse_key1. Then click the download Key pair button and save the .PEM file in a secure location, your file will be name : Discourse_key1.pem.

14- Then click launch instances.

Instances should take any where between 2 minutes and 10 minutes to launch.

15- Navigate back to your instances in the EC2 menu, then select your new instance, give it a name for easier identification, here we have named it : Discourse_Tutorial. Note down the public DNS address ours is

Step 2 : Configure SMTP on  Amazon Simple Email Service.

Configuring SMTP is a very important step, as Discourse will not be able to send the account activation email without it.

1- Navigate to the Amazon Simple email service ( SES) Dashboard. On the left menu click on SMTP settings.

Save the details:
Server Name:
Port:25, 465 or 587
Use Transport Layer Security (TLS):Yes

2- Click on create my SMTP credentials and download the access key and username in the excel sheet format. Select the default IAM user name. Save the SMTP username and password safely. 

Next Verify the email address that shall be used to create the admin account on the discourse server.

3- Click on Email addresses on the left menu , and then click verify a new email address, enter your email address and you will
receive a verification mail from AWS , click on the link and now your email address is configured to interact with  Amazon SES SMTP.

Step 3 : Configure DNS and hosting on Amazon Route 53.

1- Navigate to Route 53 under the services menu in AWS and  purchase a domain name if you do not already have one, then click on Hosted zones button.

2- Select your  domain name and then click create record set , enter www in the Name section and choose A- IPV4 address in the Type drop down menu , then paste your public IPV 4 address in the Value section.

3- Click save record set.

Step 4 : Installing Discourse on Ubuntu 18.04.4 LTS ( AWS EC2 instance)

1- Login to your Ubuntu instance, open an SSH client (connect using PuTTY)

2- Locate your private key file (Discourse_key1.pem). The wizard automatically detects the key you used to launch the instance.

3- Your key must not be publicly view-able for SSH to work. Use this command if needed :

chmod 400 Discourse_key1.pem

4- Connect to your instance using its Public DNS,for our instance it will be :

ssh -i "Discourse_key1.pem"

5- We should always start by updating our installation package and make sure all system packages are up to date. Run the below commands:

sudo apt update 

sudo apt upgrade -y 

6- Install Docker, Run the below command to install the latest version of docker :

wget -qO- | sh 

7- Check your docker version and running status with the below commands :

docker version

systemctl status  docker

Now we have docker installed , next we deploy discourse.

8- Create a directory /var/discourse 

sudo mkdir /var/discourse

9- Copy the official discourse Docker image into the newly created directory:

sudo git clone /var/discourse

10- Run Discourse Set up tool to bootstrap Discourse.

sudo su -
cd /var/discourse

11- RUN

12- Provide the Domain name configured earlier , SMTP verified Email for admin , Smtp email server , SMTP port , SMTP user name , SMTP password , and an optional email for lets encrypt email for SSL certificate renewal. Your entries should look like the below.

Hostname for your Discourse? []: // use activated domain email//
Email address for admin account(s)?:, // Use verified email //
SMTP server address? []
SMTP port? [587]: 465
SMTP user name? []: Aasdwfewfc@#$#@ **
SMTP password? [pa$$word]: BL3456gdsDFEFS
Optional email address for setting up Let's Encrypt? (ENTER to skip) []:

The details should be filled out extremely patiently and correctly, any mistake in the username and password will result in SMTP not being configured properly. 

All this data is stored in a file called containers/app.yml and every time you make a change , you will have to rebuild Discourse by running :

./launcher rebuild app

And then fill out the information  again.

13- Once the installation is complete , just enter your domain name into a web browser and you should get the discourse welcome screen.

14- Follow the installation wizard and you are ready to go .

Thanks , If this works for you , send me a thumbs up and upvote !!

About Me - Axel Joaquim Fernandes

Axel Joaquim Fernandes

Chief Operating Officer at Immensa Technology labs, Dubai, UAE.
Axel Fernandes majored in Computer Science Engineering at the
National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, India where he also took courses in Industrial engineering & Organization, Manufacturing processes, and Business management.
For his final year project, he assembled his first Desktop 3D printer (Prusa Mendel i2) and won a NASSCOM 10,000 Startups competition hosted by Weekend Ventures, now a part of Venture catalyst (VC firm) in India. This start up competition win, laid the foundation for his career in Additive Manufacturing with the founding of his services company: Forgify 3D technologies, in New Delhi, India.
As Founder and CEO, Axel was responsible for the quick growth of Forgify3D and lead important partnerships at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, and Maulana Azad Medical College for the early adoption of medical 3D printing for pre-surgical planning in the Orthopedics and Craniomaxillofacial department. The practice has become an industry standard now.
He also built partnerships with leading Indian industrial companies and the Indian government.
Observing the lack of local 3D printer manufacturers in India, Axel designed and developed the Arya series of 3D printers in partnership with Cadx tools and Technologies, New Delhi.
The Arya Series of 3D printers is a market leader in 450 X 450 X 450 millimeter build volume space, 400 + installations to date, and with heavy penetration in Tier 2 and Tier 3 towns in India.
Axel joined Immensa Technology labs, Dubai, United Arab Emirates, as the First Engineer and Technology lead. Immensa has grown to become the largest Additive Manufacturing company in the Middle east and provides services across all major AM Technologies. Axel leads team building, new product development, operations, and strategy. He develops the Digital inventory services platform and is a Partner and Chief Operating Officer. He represents Immensa and the interests of the Additive Manufacturing community at major events and has contributed to develop the internationally accepted guidelines for the adoption of AM across the marine and oil & gas industry with DNV GL and major Industry partners.
Axel's expertise is in leading lean technology teams to achieve product market fit.
Having 6 + years of experience working in multiple countries, environments, difficult markets,new technologies, among diverse multicultural teams, and with a deep technological educational background he can solve any challenge that comes his way.
Technologies well versed in:
Operations: Additive manufacturing (SLA, SLS, FDM, DMLS, Binder jetting) machinery management, operating, materials selection, CAM and Gcode generation.
3D design, data preparation, and simulations: CAD Design for additive manufacturing, Polygon Mesh data repairing, Manufacturing data preparation, and simulations.
Software development: Machine learning data preparation, Machine learning algorithms, Artificial intelligence, Web development, Devops, Firmware design, and path algorithm improvements.

Where The Mind Is Without Fear

Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high

Where knowledge is free

Where the world has not been broken up into fragments

By narrow domestic walls

Where words come out from the depth of truth 

Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection

Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way

Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit

Where the mind is led forward by thee

Into ever-widening thought and action

Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake.

- By Rabindranath Tagore

List of books I have read - 2019

This is by far the longest list of  books I have managed to read in the last two years . I wish I could read more , but right now my work schedule just does not permit more reading . 

Sometimes I post reviews of these books . 

This is my review of factfullness -

1- Quantum - Jim Al Khalili
2- The Alliance - Reid Hoffman
3- The sympathizer - Viet thanh niguyen
4- Finding my virgintiy - Richard Branson
5- Feeling good - David D burns
6- The tipping point - Malcom Gladwell 
7- The intelligent investor - 
8- Warren buffet - Letters to the board 
9- Jeff bezos - letters
10- Jim carter - Biography
11- Life on the edge - Jim Al Khalil
12- You must be joking Mr Feynman - Richard F
13- Factfullness - Hans rosling
14- Blink - Malcolm gladwell
15- The graveyard book , Neil gaiman.
16- Talking to strangers - Peter rosengard
17- The structures not scientific revolutions - Thomas S Kuhn
18- Enlightenment now - Steven Pinker
19- The course of love - Alain de botton
20- Creating a world without poverty - Muhammad Yunus.
21- Sophies world - Jostein Gaarder.
22- Loonshots - Safi bahcall
23- Thinking in bets - Annie duke
24- Getting to yes - Roger Fisher
25- Pale blue dot - Carl sagan
26- Blitzscaling - Chris yeh and Reid Hoffman 
27- The billion dollar coach - Jonathan Rosenberg , Eric Schmidt
28- Hard Thing about Hard things - Ben Horowitz
29-  The Art of Startup Fundraising - Alejandro C - Have a audio book

I maintain this list on Evernote , next I will review the Hero with a thousand faces.


A different point of view

In the winter of  December 2018, I visited United states of America for the first time in my Life.

God what a beautiful country !!

These are some photographs of the places I visited.

Equipment : Xiaomi Mi 8 

Camera resolution : 

1- A side glance from the " Highline" 

The Highline is an abandoned railway line in the city of New York , that has be revamped into a public park like environment . 

link to information about the Highline -

Any visit to New York , requires you to pass by the Highline without fail.

This image has received over 6000 views on google maps and makes a great stock image. 

Review of the Book "Factfulness" by the Legendary Doctor Hans Rosling

Factfulness : Hans Rosling’s epitaph , a stark reminder to the world that , we are getting better , faster and more awesome than we think . Most difficulty of the past is gone now and the future is bright. The Eurocentric view of the world is changing , and "change is the only thing that is  constant "- Professor PJ Phillip. 

The worlds pin code is changing  from 1114 : 1 billion in America , 1 billion in Europe 1 billion in Africa and 4 billion in Asia, to to 1146 : 1 Billion in America , 1 billion in Europe , 4 billion in Africa and 6 billion in Asia . The entire equation of trade and commerce is moving in favour of the developing economies. Everyone needs to quickly understand that and make their moves or accept the fact that they will be subject to the whims of a new world order .  
Yes these continents, countries and society as a whole have a lot of issues and that is a fact we cannot take for granted. Hans mentions that India is today where Sweden was 4 decades ago , but the rate at which India achieved its results is exponentially faster than Sweden could have ever done . 
The leap frog effect , this effect is the best most wonderful observation I have ever come across where whole generations of people Jump from level 2 to level 4 instantly just like blitz scaling.

 Income  "Levels" ( Starting from level 1 to level 4 , with level 4 being the highest ) are a metric devised by Dr Hans to describe the different levels of income people around the world earn and their ability to access resources to live better lives based on that level. 

This link will help understanding  it more 

Even the great Mr Bill Gates joined hands with Hans to help him achieve his goal of educating the world on income inequality. 

Arguably one of the greatest success of the leap frog effect is Saudi Arabia, when the data began to be kept track of, it was at quite a low point, yet in practically no time ( just a few decades) it has grown to have one of the highest rates of health, welfare and economy growth gains the world has ever seen. 

India shall go through the most rapid phase of development the world has ever seen . And we are present and living in a time when we shall all witness it.  

He also worked on gapminder it self with his son, an amazing resource 

Visit it to challenge your perception of the world we live in.

I learnt a lot from Dr Hans , he opened my eyes so that I could see how beautiful and amazing this world is. His work has educated millions and enlightened many more . But , the world comprises of billions of people and as much as he cherished  it , he acknowledged  the fact that there is a lot of work left to be done . 

I shall do my part and carry the baton forward enlightening people as I come across them and contributing my time and resources when ever I can. 
To the man , the teacher , the sword swallowing and swashbuckling legend ,

From a life long admirer and student,

Good bye doctor Hans , you will truly be missed .  

Links to purchase the book :

1- Audible :
2- Amazon :


What matters to me ?

“Harmony, patterns and progressions matter to me “. My analogy of life is similar to a series of musical chord progressions that fall into place one after another, but to actually figure out which chords sound good together, you have to  play as many of them as possible. To pave my path I need to keep playing out new chords all the time and rearrange the patterns of life to make good life-music.