Frequently Asked Questions

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Raven CNC and the Designer software were designed with ease-of-use in mind. We’ve been developing our CNC machines and software for decades now and have learned what difficulties most people face and we set out to resolve them. Our goal is to make CNC carving as simple as can be, but without limiting the creative possibilities.

Since RAVEN’s servo and brushless spindle motor have such a high range of control, any non-ferrous machinable material should be able to be used. The pre-configured bits included in the system are set up to work with wood, plastic, and foam materials, but those settings can be changed or new bits added by the user. We will introduce new bits as we develop specific projects and we expect our active community develops and shares more material and bit settings as they try different things.

You can download Designer for an indefinite free trial to learn how to use it. 

The short answer is no, but you will probably want to for some bits. RAVEN allows you to add bits and configure them however you like, so the system doesn’t restrict anything, but there are some things to understand to get the best results. There are a few different categories of bits that are being used in CNC. High speed steel, carbide tipped router bits, and solid carbide end mills. 

High Speed Steel Bits

We don't recommend using any high speed steel for hard materials, even if you slow the bit speeds down. They dull fast and don’t produce great results. For soft materials like foam, they will work fine. We don’t sell any high speed steel bits.

Carbide Tipped Router Bits

These are very standard plunge style router bits. Most often used in this category are V-bits for doing v-carve functions. Any quality supplier of this type of bit will work well. They don’t have to be purchased from us, but we do offer a high quality selection of these bits and have settings for them pre-programmed into our software.

Solid Carbide End Mills

Solid carbide end mills are ideal for most CNC functions. They have a long life and are very sharp. RAVEN has many of these bits programmed into the software, but at very fast speed and feed rates. Solid carbide has one problem with it. It cannot be held tightly enough in a split collet to ensure they don't slip without slowing the settings down. To address this problem, we provide high quality solid carbide bits with a hard pressed, no-slip adapter to remove the slip possibility and allow users to maximize the capabilities of their system. 

Our CarveTight chuck system handles ½” shank bits, but can accommodate smaller bits with adaptors and collets. For our ¼” shank solid carbide bits we use a hard pressed no-slip adaptor that ensures the cutter can run at the RAVEN’s speeds without being pulled out or slipping. Not using these no-slip bits will require running much slower.

We currently have a US based support phone number and a translatable support website with troubleshooting and tutorials. With RAVEN’s international expansion, we will be establishing more localized distribution and support options. 

Our software is designed in-house specifically for our CNC systems. 

The Accutrack Belt is an inexpensive, reusable toothed belt that is adhered to the bottom of the board using double-sided tape. The tape has a high strength adhesive that won’t allow the belt to slip and can be easily removed leaving no residue. Rolls of both the belt and the double-sided tape are included with the system and are available for purchase at 

  • AccuTrack Belt comes in 5 meter rolls.
  • The tape comes in 20 meter rolls.

You will apply the tape to the board edge, remove the tape backing, and then apply the belt to the tape. You will trim the belt to fit the board. For repeatable operations, you would create a carrier board, or jig, that you could permanently attach the belt to and never have to replace. This allows for quick changing of board material with no setup.

The spindle motor’s speed is determined by the bit settings, which can be changed in the software. (See the answer about bit settings above) Being a brushless motor with feedback capabilities, we will have some limited ability to sense load to help determine if a bit is getting dull or if it’s broken.

RAVEN’s Designer software will come with a set of pre-configured bits. All the cutting speeds and material options will already be worked out. The software will allow you to change these parameters if you choose, as well as define entirely new bits and materials. Our goal is to keep this simple for most users who can use the defaults and never worry about these settings, but allow for advanced users to have full control over these settings for their specific purposes. We foresee our active community sharing different bit settings regularly as they experiment and find more things they can do.

Bit Builder

The Bit Builder will give users the ability to add new or custom configure existing bits. This will allow for ultimate control over all the speed, feed, and spindle settings for every bit. Custom bits can be stored globally in your system or are stored on a project level. This means if someone designs a project with a specific bit setting and they share that project, the bit setting will come automatically with the project. This will open the door to a huge number of operations not available to the CX and previous models.

New Compile Process

Since there is no board sensor to detect edges and measure the project, we have moved much of the project setup decisions to the project compiling process. This process will allow you to define jigs and answer some positioning questions. It will even tell you exactly what the minimum size board you will need based on your design. There are no more stay-under-rollers or other positioning questions at the machine. All projects will index from the back keypad side corner and will automatically stay under rollers based on the choices you made during the compile process. 

File Format and Compatibility

Because of the new RAVEN features, those projects will not run on the older models. RAVEN projects will use a new file format .RVN that will keep it from getting confusing with older generation projects and allow a user to convert an older project to use on a RAVEN without overriding the older project. The software will allow a user to choose which machine they are designing for and any features not appropriate for that machine will not display in the software.

Higher Resolution

The RAVEN file format will work in a higher resolution for much smoother and more accurate positioning.

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