I am trying to fill a shape with a pattern and then engrave it using my Glowforge. Once I place my pattern into my shape by using the "fill" option, I then have to click Object> Expand > Fill in order for my Glowforge to recognize the pattern. The only problem is when I upload it to my laser printer, the pattern extends past the shape. The pattern even extends past the shape in Illustrator if I place my cursor around the shape edge. Is there a way to have the pattern fit only to the shape?
Are you saying that the pattern outside your clipping mask is printing?
You say "The pattern even extends past the shape in Illustrator if I place my cursor around the shape edge" - yes, the clipping mask is a non-destructive way to isolate your object. You can edit both in the future. If you isolate your object in a destructive way, you will not be able to edit the parts you erased.