Masking score-line intersections? (paper art)

Hello all,

I’m a paper artist and I’m very excited to start creating things with my glowforge.

I make designs that feature a lot of intersecting fold lines, and one problem with producing these on a laser cutter is that overlapping line intersections = burn through.

A friend of mine also uses a laser to create his paper artwork, and has written some special code to chop out the line intersections so his laser doesn’t burn through there; however this is in some special software and not for illustrator etc.

I’m curious if anyone has tips/tricks/plugins/scripts they could suggest for how to handle this? Currently I’m scoring paper for folding and dealing with the burn through at the intersections but for presentation-quality work that’s not really an option; right now I’m looking at manually erasing intersection nodes in illustrator and that’s no fun.

I’ve attached an example illustrator file to illustrate (hah) my question. (1.5 MB)

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I did some playing around and found a way to do it. It’s not automatic and is probably more work than you want to try, but anyway:

  1. Select all the intersecting lines and give them a fill. You won’t see it but it is needed for the Pathfinder command to work. Note that this method only applies to straight lines, not curved lines.

  2. Create a tiny circle with fill, no stroke, and having a radius the length of the cut you want to make on the ends of the lines that intersect. Place the circle centered over the intersection you want to cut (make sure the circle is in front, not behind the crossing lines).

  3. Select all the intersecting lines and the circle. Choose Pathfinder…Trim. Then ungroup the result and delete the circle in the middle. You will be left with the trimmed lines, but the stroke has been changed to 0 pt and the color is now the fill color you initially chose. So you will have to select these and change them back to what you want.

This process worked for straight lines that have no bends, but when I tried it with curved lines things got a lot more complicated. But it might work for Origami folds.

Good luck!


That’s an approach I had not considered, although I’ll likely keep using the eraser tool (with predefined size) to erase points for now, as its faster than using pathfinder (for my needs, anyway).

looks like I need to invest some time/energy into learning adobe illustrator scripting.

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So, I think I found a solution here, at least for some of the circumstances.

As I am doing scoring, I build a lot of these cut files using line segments (vs paths). I just realized I can use the “Transform each…” function to reduce them to 95%, and it gives me exactly what I was looking for. Worth trying if it is useful/applicable for you also!


Awesome! Glad you worked it out.

Just tried your eraser tool trick and it worked great! How did I not know about that tool? I get into a bit of a rut sometimes.

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