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I'd like to have the mesh design here …

http://issm.jpl.nasa.gov/images/issm/documentation/trimesh/mesh.png

… fleshed out a bit so I can make a perforated strip/plate like this …

enter image description here

… in such a way that I can cut pieces out while retaining the precisely placed round holes in the part. I'm essentially trying to make that strip more interesting, like this:

enter image description here

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2 Answers 2

For simplicity's sake, I'm going to assume that you already have a mesh and a "piece with holes" in vector form. If not, we have existing questions on how to do that:

Here is what I'm starting with:

enter image description here

To "flesh out" the grid of triangles, I'm just going to apply a thick stroke to them:

enter image description here

I'm going to then expand the stroke using Object → Expand then Merge the grid (Merge can be found on the Pathfinder pane). I did a bit of clean up so that we're only left with a single compound shape for the grid:

enter image description here

Now I'll place the shape with holes over the grid. I have filled the circles with red to keep track of what I want "knocked out" and applied the same stroke as before:

enter image description here

I'll then duplicate the long rounded piece so I can use it as a clipping mask. Expand the shape's stroke and fill as before (as well as the duplicated piece). It should look like this in Outline View:

enter image description here

Release the compound path of the shape that we duplicated and delete the inner shape. Then use it to apply a clipping mask to all of the artwork. Almost there!

enter image description here

Merge all of the artwork and delete any shapes that are not filled with black (or whatever stoke color you used). This should leave you with the final compound path of your shape to be cut out:

enter image description here

3D Extrude & Bevel applied for style points:

enter image description here

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6  
-1 for not having worms in it. –  Scott Jan 16 at 17:11
2  
+1 for the amount of effort on what I surely thought was a bot's question. :) –  TunaMaxx Jan 16 at 18:25
2  
I agree with @Scott there was genuine opportunity here to have the worms peeping out through the circles, or more interestingly traveling through them. –  Jenna Jan 17 at 12:22
  1. Open Illustrator.
  2. Draw your desired circles
  3. Draw a series of triangles/quadrangles and shapes around the circles to create your mesh
  4. Make sure none of the shapes touch in order to leave a solid area behind.
  5. Color in the shapes with a dull grey as needed to help you flesh out the design and visualize the "positive" to remain, and the "negative" to be removed.
  6. Save and export to required file format for your laser "ma-cheene"
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