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I have a layer of shapes and a layer of paths that I am using as the source for laser cutting some objects. My goal is to clip the paths to the outline of the shapes, then move the resulting paths and shapes close together to prevent material waste when cutting. So far, I have done the clipping portion as follows:

  • Separate shapes and paths into two layers
  • Duplicate shapes layer and rename "Shapes - clipping" and hide original shapes layer
  • Group all shapes together
  • Move shapes layer to be above paths
  • select all shapes from the clipping layer and all paths
  • Objects->clip->set
  • Unhide original shapes layer

Which causes the image to be clipped as I expect:

enter image description here

What I can't figure out now is how to independently move each of these shapes. If I try to alt click and drag across the paths, and adding a single circle to the selection, it ends up selecting all the paths and moving them as one. How do I instead move just the paths clipped by a single circle? Is it possible to separate the paths based on the shape so that they are no longer connected "underneath" the clipped layer? My goal (pardon the MSPaint mockup) is to change the move behavior after clipping to behave as follows:

enter image description here

Thanks!

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A simple solution would be arranging the clipping paths before clipping. But a much better solution would be cloning the shapes group a number of times equal to the number of the clipping paths, then clip each clone. And finally, hide the original path and don't touch it.

In your example, you would clone the shapes group two times, and clip each clone with the respective path.

  • Unfortunately, this is not a tenable solution for my actual use case. The example I gave was a simplification to get to the core functionality I need, but the real project I'm working on has a very large, complicated path area (it takes about 45 seconds to toggle visibility on that layer) and a shape layer with around 100 individual shapes that need to do the clipping. As such, cloning the shapes group and clipping group on a per shape or per path basis is not a realistic solution for me. – Jordan Wills Jun 2 '16 at 14:07
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Duplicate(or copy and paste) the path you want to clip(so that you will have 2 copies of them) use one circle to clip on one path and the other on the other path, this way you can move them independently.No need to group the 2 circles you are going to clip with.

  • Unfortunately, this is not a tenable solution for my actual use case. The example I gave was a simplification to get to the core functionality I need, but the real project I'm working on has a very large, complicated path area (it takes about 45 seconds to toggle visibility on that layer) and a shape layer with around 100 individual shapes that need to do the clipping. As such, making a duplicate path layer for each of those shapes is not a realistic solution for me. – Jordan Wills Jun 2 '16 at 14:06
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You can not actually do what you ask! The object model does not work that way. You have to resort to one of the cloning solutions others have mentioned. The objects are there and thats it, the clipping does not change this.

To lessen impact on produced file size you can define a pattern but internally this amounts to same as cloning. Or then you actually need to cut up the underlying artwork. But due to the nature of vectors this is unlikely to help very much.

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