Adding physical keys?

I’ve been using a Model 01 for a few months now. My favorite thing by far is the layout of the main letter keys. It’s the best layout, hands down, compared to all the other columnar keyboards I’ve tried, and I’ve tried many.

The main downside for me though is that it’s too few keys. A 60% and heavy reliance on layer switching just isn’t for me. I don’t know if my hands are just too skinny or what, but the palm fn keys that everyone seems to rave about require an awkward (and decidedly un-ergonomic) twist of my wrist to reach every time. And this is coming from someone who was on an ergodox for literally years, so it’s not because I haven’t given layers enough time to get used to. (I’m not looking to get into a debate about it, I know it’s all personal preference, I’m just setting the context for my question below.)

What would be involved in adding additional physical keys? Is it even possible? I’m thinking things like a fn row at the top. Or modifying the thumb blocks (shift keys feel like a pretty big stretch for me; another reason that makes me think maybe this was designed for bigger hands than mine). Or – I know it sounds minor but it would make a huge difference – just ONE more column on the right would go a very long way. That would let me fit all the brackets and braces and slashes without a layer as well, all of which I use quite often as a programmer.

In addition to my Model 01 I also own a trulyergonomic cleave and an x-bows. Those are much closer to what I’m after in that respect but have their own minor issues as well. And like I said I’m simply IN LOVE with the keyboardio’s layout for the main letter keys. I think a frankenstein that combines the best of both would be my ideal keyboard.

I understand that significant changes would likely be required both to the electronics and the case etc. I’m rather handy and I don’t mind getting my hands dirty, but I wanted to ask here first to understand what I’m getting myself into. Is it even feasible? Has anyone else here tried adding keys?

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I’m probably about to start on this — I use X-Keys footswitches for modifiers, and a new job has come with a MacBook, running MacOS, which doesn’t apply the modifiers from them to the keystrokes from the main keyboard. To avoid the return of past RSI, I need to keep avoiding chording, so I’m now looking at adding footswitches to the Model 01, so they’ll effectively be extra keys, but on the end of a wire, not built into the case. I haven’t started to look at the software yet, so I haven’t decided whether to have the KeyboardIO CPU read the extra switches directly on individual wires or a matrix, or whether to have some kind of serial protocol over the wire to an Arduino connected to the footswitches.