One of the things I learned while playing this level (and wish I had learned beforehand) was to visually map out the different gear configurations. This lets the game flow more easily when the PCs start experimenting with the gears. Bear in mind this puzzle is specifically set up to split the party. The only way (outside of magic) the party can reunite and progress is to go to the last room on level 5 (room 70) and use the secret passageway to come back to the Control Room (61). My players summoned an elemental to press the blue button every 5 minutes and then made their way down to the sixth level bypassing everything after room 60.
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