I'm having some trouble with a vector image I downloaded from shutterstock. I'm trying to lasercut a Christmas present for my cousin. I need to be able to get an outline of the vector image (it's composed of many parts) so that I can cut the shape out of acrylic then engrave the details on that cutout. I can easily do this once I can get an outline. I have access to inkscape, corel draw and adobe illustrator, and have tried various combinations of combining parts, tracing images, taking unions of vector paths, but none of them work. Suggestions?
In the picture below, (a) is two different vector paths. I'm trying to get (b), which is one vector path.