i thought i would update my little project
which seems to work quite well.
after some experimentation, i've made some nice looking and very strong latches
first off, i made the original about 5% bigger by adding tape all around it. the idea is to make the copies a bit bigger, so i can sand them back down to the real size.
i made the silicon rubber mold which is easy enough, even with the bolt hole down the middle, i have no problem removing the original or the cast products. i use Vaseline as a mold release helper. a one piece mold is fine, silicon rubber is very flexible and i've made 15 parts now and the mold is still good as new.
i cut a strip of fiber glass, about 12" long and 1cm wide. i loop that around the mounting nut hole then up and down the handle and around the latch part a couple of times.
then i add the epoxy resin/hardener mix, but i find i need a little more hardener than the 3:1 ratio recommended on the bottle. i find about 2.5:1 gets a harder final product.
then i remove the cast part from the mold after about 3 hours, let dry overnight, then clean out the center mounting hole with a drill, then sand it to look nicer and take the paint.
then i spray paint it. i considered mixing color into the resin but read that can reduce the strength, so didn't try it.
anyhow, they seem to work fine and look ok.