Improving our RV’s Screen Door Latch

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The screen door latch on our 1999 Monaco Dynasty leaves a little to be desired. It’s a simple twist and lock mechanism without springs or retention.
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The biggest problem is that when you close the entry door, the screen door handle will unhook itself and need to be opened separately next time you arrive.

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Not a big deal, but I thought I might be able to solve the problem with a couple of magnets.

I ended up using magnets like these but rectangle shaped.  They are rare earth magnets which are super strong.

 

Full Disclosure: Dremel is currently running a contest called “Dremel Maker Days” where they are giving away a bunch of stuff including a 3D printer. As a Dremel Maker, they sent me a Dremel 4000 with flex shaft attachment to try out on this project.IMG_8403

The kit comes with a bunch of accessories, but the two I found most useful were the cut off wheel and the sanding drum.

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I started by removing the handle latch and taking it over to the bench vice.

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Using the cutoff wheel I carved out the shape of the magnet into the plastic.  It worked well, but left small ridges, so I used the sanding drum to smooth it out.

 

Next, I attached the magnet to the old latch using a two-part 5 minute epoxy.  I let it setup for about 30 minutes before re-attaching it to the door.

 

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Finishing Up:

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I used the same two-part epoxy to adhere the mating magnet on the screen door.  This was my backup plan after discovering all of the parts of the screen door were made of aluminum.

 

The magnet latch works well with normal force, but if you slam the door it still opens up.  I figured out that if I put a second magnet on the screen door it works great.  Unfortunately I only had 2 rectangle magnets, so I had to order more.  The round one works the same, but doesn’t look good.

Bonus Project:

While I had the cutoff wheel on the Dremel I used the opportunity to fix something that has been bothering me.

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Whoever installed the universal screen protector on our door didn’t do a good job cleaning up the excess material. They let it overhang the bottom and it looks bad.

 

The tool cut through the aluminum bracket easily and left much cleaner finish than the original.   Two problems solved in one day!  🙂

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2 thoughts on “Improving our RV’s Screen Door Latch

  1. Kimberly

    Our latch like your is broken and I’ve looked everywhere for a factory replacement any ideas on where one could be found?

    Reply

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