A few years ago we put in a pool. With a pool comes saftey requirements we had (mostly) already met - 5ft fence, chimes on doors leading to pool. etc. We also found out we had to put special saftey latches on our gates to keep really tall kids out. Now our gates have two latches on them - one regular and one saftey latch, and require a very coordinated adult to figure out the secret order to open them both.
All was well until in the world until our first Spring with the pool. Suddenly our latches appeared like they had been chisled off by some tiny creature. My wife finally spotted the squirrels using them to sharpen their teeth. Here is what they ended up looking like:
Fast forward a few years and one latch replacement (~$70 each) later (yes, you have to replace the whole latch mechanism - you can’t just replace the knob). I was down the nub on my main gate latch that’s frequently used, and the best I could come up was a white rubber cap for chair legs. It looks great, doesn’t it?
Shortly after I came up with that solution, I received a 3d Printer for my birthday and started using it to solve all the problems that I didn’t know need solving. A few weeks later I had run out of solving all my problems indoors and moved outside and saw the white knob and knew what I had to do. Several test-runs later, I ended up with my solution.
There are a few different designs depending on how torn up your gate latch already is (i.e. is it completely missing the knob vs. just having a few bites taken out of it). As you can see, even the knob covers are unfortunately just as attractive to the squirrels, so I may be updating to make the top thicker. Either way, it’s relatively cheap to print out a knob versus dropping $75 + installation time for a new latch. Just remember if you use PLA plastic, that you should put several coats of exterior spray paint on them to help them last (although, my next ones are going on without paint since they aren’t going to last a whole season anyway). You can even sprinkle cayenne pepper on top when painting to help keep them away. Keep an eye on Thingaverse if this is helpful to you.
If you’d rather just have someone make the replacement parts for you, feel free to contact me directly. I have provided parts for many folks who are unable to print them for one reason or another.