MAME cabinet, spinner

For a spinner, I decided to take the mouse hack route. I’ve been saving one serial port mouse just for this purpose and have also familiarized myself with the various mouse hacks available in the net. Out of these, Nathan Strum’s Cheep Spinner instructions seemed the best in overall. This document even lists some game settings :)

I do have a OptiPac board too and would’ve gladly gone with a real arcade spinner. Selecting which one to go with was mostly about what I have at hand by the time I’d get to the build. No local options for arcade spinners in sight to date (and not ordering one abroad either), so mouse it is then! This is what I ended up with:

The spinner assembly

After spending a good while digging through whatever-usable-I-might-have, I ended up basing the design on a radio tuning dial. This had almost everything in a single part; the knob, potentiometer-style fastening and a counterweight. Originating from a hi-fi stereo amplifier, the dial shaft is way too long for the part to be mounted on the top panel. The shaft can’t be cut shorter either, because it houses the rotating mechanism.

So, I worked around the issue by installing the dial on a floppy drive cover. It was just about the right height, and this way the fastening nut will be hidden under the top panel. As-is though, the current setup is good for testing only. For final mounting, I still need to figure out a way to attach the cover to the controller console PLUS the cover most likely needs to be cut shorter too. The latter depends on how much room there is between the buttons and their cabling..

Nothing much else to it parts wise.. A colleaque at work was kind enough to help machining a couple of encoder wheels according to Nathan’s diagrams, so I was left only with the task of attaching it. As the dial shaft has threadings for M3 screws, making a mounting bracket for the encoder was a no-brainer. Thin aluminium stripped from TFT display element once again.

To attach the mouse electronics, I made a L-bracket out of the same aluminium.  This allowed me to fine-tune the placement of the encoder wheel to align neatly with the transmitter/receiver combo simply by bending the bracket. It’s a bit flimsy though, so I might have to replace if anything more appropriate comes along.

Encoder wheel alignment

For testing purposes, I taped the spinner assembly to a piece of acrylic that snapped away from the bottom of the controller console (OOPS!).. Yep, finishing up the console didn’t go as planned, safe to say there’s now a rectangular opening at the bottom of it ;)

Side view of spinner test mount

Angled view of spinner test mount

I’ll save the actual game testing for later though..

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