Hidden Productivity tools you should know: Part II

We shall discuss more productivity tools to utilize in your daily modeling.

1. Selection Breadcrumbs 

Selection Breadcrumbs is an alternative or addition to using the Feature Tree.  When you select something within the graphics area, a pop-up displays within the upper left hand corner of the graphics window.  It shows the sketch, feature, body, part, etc; that is related to whatever is selected.  Instead of digging through the Feature Tree, this interface dialog shows you just the information you need.  From the breadcrumbs display you can right click on the sketch or feature and edit it.  This means it is a full alternative to the feature tree, but can also be used in conjunction as well.  Check out the screenshot below to see what it looks like.


Another really useful feature of the breadcrumbs is that within an assembly it will show the mates for that component as well as the normal selections.  See below!


The small arrow above the normal selections shows the three coincident mates that we have for this part.  The arrow for the mates is pointed off the part icon, but the arrow for the sketch is from the feature.  The arrow indicates what features are linked depending on where it is pointing from.

To top it off, if you make your selection and hit “D” on your keyboard, it will move the breadcrumbs selection right to where your cursor is so you don’t even have to move your mouse. 


2. Freeze Bar

The freeze bar is absolutely great when working in a part that has a lengthy Feature Tree because it reduces the rebuild times quite significantly.  The freeze bar works just like the rollback bar but instead you drag it from the top and go down. The freeze bar locks any features above it; not allowing editing and it also removes them from the rebuild procedure.  It is turned off by default so, to turn it on, go to Tools>Options and within the general tab you will want to check “Enable Freeze Bar.”

freeze bar

Let’s take a look at the part below.  Using the performance evaluation, we see that there is a rebuild time of 2.78 seconds and there are 37 features.


Looking through the performance evaluation, we know that the two highest contributors to the rebuild times are about 75% of the way down the tree.  Since we are working on features below those, we can exclude them from our rebuild procedures.  Let’s drag the freeze bar below Surface-Fill1 and see what happens.

remote control

Utilizing the freeze feature, we are only rebuilding 10 features and our rebuild time is down under a second.  The rebuild time is about three times shorter than it was, and we didn’t have to modify the model at all!  You can visually see what features are locked and you can only imagine how powerful this can be when working on a model that may have a 5+ second rebuild time.

Hopefully there were a few techniques/tools that you can apply to your current workflow that could greatly increase your productivity and ease of use. Let us know your favorite tool/technique!