This is my cheap Atari mame spinner that I made using the mouse hack. You might substitute certain materials but this worked for me so study the pictures. I just play mame on my desktop but I was frustrated with games like Discs of Tron and Arkanoid where the mouse just was'nt cutting it. I saw the ball mouse hack and it made me think of my Atari plug & play tv games controller, you know the ones they sell with the a/v cords and the preprogramed games. I had two of these and since they are larger than the orig 2600 paddles they can accomidate the mouse guts. For this project you'll probably need a dremel type tool with circular saw. The ball mouse I used was a fellowes microtrac finger mouse I had which I figured would be best since it is a little smaller but you should be able to fit any stadard mouse. I did find that the small spoke wheel only had 17 teeth & gave me limited range of movement and I ended up having to use the spoke wheel from a standard mouse as it had twice the teeth thus doubled range. Started by pulling off the spinner, seperating the halves & removing everything but the fire button. I had to cut out plastic in certain areas of both halves to make way for the mouse board, this will become clear to you as you go. For the rod I used a wood dowel which may sound weak but its proved to be pretty strong so far and it was easy to cut the many notches I needed.
Cut the top end to replicate the potentionometers rod to recieve the spinner.
For the bushing assembly I ended up going to the hardware store and got a nylon flanged bushing and metal nut & washer to screw onto it. With the flanged end on the top and the nut tightened on the bottom it created a solid housing for the wood rod to rotate inside. With the dowel inserted I spent time spacing and cutting notches in the dowel ends to accept e-clips to hold nylon washers on both sides of the bushing. The nylon on nylon is low friction and works well, I did wrap a little packing tape around the dowel to take up some slack inside the bushing.
You'll want to space the spinner so its just barely touching the base if you want more free spin. You'll also need to cut away a bit of plastic that makes the spinner stop half way.
The most tedious part is aligning the mouse circuit board sensor with the spoke wheel so you'll get consistant smooth control response when you turn. At first I thought I had it but found if I spun it hard the arkanoid thingy would stutter somewhat, this was corrected by slight resposistioning so make sure you get it right before hot gluing the board so it wont lose it's place. Then I soldered the fire button to the mouse left click wire.
Before screwing the top half and battery lid back on I put some hot glue where the cable exits the controller to prevent it from getting yanked out. Without the resistance of the the potentionometer the spinner feels light so I glued lead weights on the underside which gives it a nice feel and it spins pretty darn good in Tempest.
For Discs of Tron I use the sidewinder percision 2 joystick, I set the lower thumb button for deflect and the upper directional pad for up/down aiming and this setup has proved for an exceptional experience. I'm quite pleased with how this turned out and I can finally play these games as god intended!