We're doing a project for our university, where we have to lasercut some gears. We've found a template for our gears online, but somehow the lines aren't joined, which makes the lasercutter cut twice.

We've made sure that the lines aren't duplicated and we've spend hours playing with the Join Tool and Pathfinder. We just can't get them to join.

Does anyone know how to do this?

I've attached the .AI file if anyone wants to try their hand at it!Download here:


We will appreciate any help! Thanks!

The gear lines we need to join.

  • 1
    Could you edit with screenshots showing closeups of whats going on, maybe the layers panel also.
    – Ryan
    Apr 28 '16 at 13:44
  • It's a mess each line is a double overlapped line with only two anchors. you have to draw it again. maintain the shape will spend more time than drawing it from scratch.
    – hsawires
    Apr 28 '16 at 15:57
  • Use shapebuilder it should sort you out in a few clicks.
    – joojaa
    Apr 28 '16 at 17:52

This can be cleaned up with shape builder with some effort.

  1. Just clear the clipping mask
  2. Select everything and start clicking each area separately with the shape builder tool (Shift+M).
  3. Once you have each shape separated select them with direct select tool by clicking (do not use a marque).
  4. Then cut the shapes out (Ctrl+x)
  5. Marque select everything hit delete and then paste in front.
  6. (optional) Run path cleanup

Process takes about 4-5 minutes. OTOH it takes me 20 minutes to design the system in my CAD app so not really stellar.

enter image description here

Image 1: Slapped a bevel and emboss on top of the gear system after installing the inner sunring. For those who dont know this picture proves that the shapes were cleaned up or the bevel couldn't have made sense out of it all.

PS: Your circle involute curves are a bit on the coarse side for mechanical work! I sure hope your not cutting metal.


I've never been a fan of the built-in join tool with Illustrator. I've resorted to using a 3rd-party script I found on the internet that works wonderfully. It's called JETJoinNearest. select two (or more) lines (not just the end nodes) and run the script, it will join the two nearest ends together into a single path.

Script: JETPaths

To install and run the script (OSX):

  • Place the script in the following folder:

    /Applications/Adobe Illustrator CS6/Presets.localized/en_US/Scripts/

  • Restart illustrator and run the script by going File > Scripts > scriptname

Also, going File > Scripts > scriptname is annoying each time you want to run the script. On a mac, use Spark to setup a handy keyboard shortcut for the script (and any other oft-used illustrator menu items.)

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