I have an older Thomas Wheel I had upgraded to digital several years ago to work in rFactor. Then the higher end pots wore out and a friend told me to send the wheel and peddles back to Thomas to have Optic Encoders installed. What a huge difference in the entire driving experience.
Before it was shipped I dealt with the stock wheel which was old and hard to hold after a few hours of driving. Getting old sucks, damn arthritis!
I had a wheel from and Porsche that was a great fit but needed a hub. I build advanced composite boats and had a bunch of carbon scraps, so I made a quick and dirty hub adapter. Unfortunately I rushed the sanding and clear coat, plus it was near freezing in the shop, which yielded a horrible finish. I shipped it with the wheel to make certain all would work well.
So far the buttons work better by thumb than paddles. Still have to run more wires for the extra buttons, I supplied too many and they didn't know which to wire so they didn't.
The only issue with the new encoders was a tendency to snap the wheel and lose center, same woth gas peddle, rapid movement not good. They sent me a recalibrated curcuit board and all was well. It happens from time to time if I leave the track and hit a wall. Fix is to stop, turn wheel left then right and it is back to normal.
I hope to make a clearer adapter this winter. Cockpit has always been something I would like to build. http://s119.photobucket.com/albums/o145/Tynaje/Thomas%20Wheel%20clamp/
That looks great, I bet the larger wheel is nice to use! Have you considered using one of Leo Bodnars USB controllers for buttons? Cockpit building is another thing I hope to cover here at some point! (I have to start mine soon lol)