Remove Double-Lines in Inkscape

Saving yourself making time and cost

As many of you will know, you can save making time and cost by placing the pieces you want to cut directly side-by-side. This way the two pieces can share a cutting line between them – effectively cutting two sides in one stroke.

The trick to making this work, however, is the removal of the unneeded extra line. When you first place the objects directly side by side, you should be able to see the shared line as being a darker blue to the others – at this point it’s a double line – one blue line directly on top of the other.

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Removing this extra line in Illustrator is straightforward, but in Inkscape it’s a bit more complex:

Before you begin: Select All and use the Path > Object to Path command.

Step 1: Select the Edit Paths by Nodes tool.

Step 2: Click on an object that contains a double line and then select a node on one side of the double line to be removed.

Step 3: With the node highlighted dark gray, click the Break Path at Selected Nodes button

Step 4: Click on the node on the other side of the double line, and use the Break Path button again.

Step 5: Click on the line between the two nodes so that both nodes are highlighted dark gray and a larger size to the rest of the nodes in the object, and press delete. A paler blue line should be left behind.

Step 6: Select the nodes on each side of the next line, and repeat the above process.

As I said, it’s a bit complex, but once you get the hang of it it will work for you. If anyone has any questions, or anything here is unclear, just let me know and I will continue to refine these instructions as needed.


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There is one extra step for applying this for rectangles (and maybe other things?) that I’m shocked to have figured out by myself: You first have to select the object and do Path menu -> Object to Path (Shift+Ctrl+C). This will give you access to the nodes.

Also, it’s unclear that there is a hexagon to the right. It just looks like one stacked on top of one other, which made things confusing until I realized you were trying to delete duplicate lines from a hard-to-see hexagon to the right. Just a note about that would probably be enough to avoid confusion.

Thanks for posting this!

    Thanks for the feedback Nick!

    I’ll adjust the first screenshot to show the whole design, and add the Path > Object to Path command note too.


Okay, I made it through the process of merging a bunch of cuts, and the end result is 40 cents more expensive! And I have a fairly high percentage of long straight lines that can be merged. The difference seems to fluctuate when I tweak the design, in the range of +/-5%. I can’t tell why sometimes it’s more expensive and sometimes less. But from this experience I am definitely going to be wary about spending the time to do it again. These laser machines are quite unpredictable! I assume you run designs through some kind of official laser cutting time-calculation algorithm to determine the “making” price?

Hi Nick! It’s very curious that the cost actually *increased*. I’d be interested to see the two files and try to assess why it worked out that way.

The main thing about removing double lines is that if they are left in the design it can cause problems – particularly with any materials thicker than 3mm. This takes the form of either scorching or melting (depending on the material) and can actually end up damaging the machine as well.

The other option is naturally to leave at least 1mm between your pieces and not share cuts.

Josh, check out the Ponoko-test-paths and Test-joined-paths designs in my account. (I assume you can access them)

    To follow up on this conversation – we were able to assess the increase in cost, and it was not connected to sharing cutting lines and removing the double-line. This process WILL reduce making costs. Thanks!

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