The steel ball that you describe is part of the multi room puzzle to claim the aforementioned key.
After much deliberation you need to move the plastic pail so that it is slightly East of the French horn in the Trap Door room by pressing the sandy button then moving north into the Trough Room and pushing the lever to align the Trough with the north hole. Then drop the ball in the Slanted Room and move back to the Trough Room and PULL LEVER and PUSH LEVER three times to accelerate the speed of the steel ball. The ACME skeet shooter in the Trap Door room has been modified to speed up the trajectory of the ball. Then move East back to the Trap Door room and wait for an ominous click. When the ball hits the French Horn the arrow it fires misses the plastic pail but hits the burlap bag which is full of sand. When the sand starts to trickle out press the sandy button again so that it lines up the plastic pail with the bag and catches the sand. The pail then lowers and the Gilded Cage attached to the pail by a chain rises as the pail sinks with the weight of sand in it revealing the gold key.
The gold key then falls through a hole into a plastic cup attached to a garage opener rail In a room below which you can never enter but merely view through some French doors. A conveyor belt runs beneath a chair which has a board balanced on it. The other end of the board has a desk fan attached to it that is switched on. A bottle sits on the board opposite the fan with a stack of papers under the bottle. A fishline runs from the bottle through a hole in the north wall. A remote controls turns on a circular device at the end of the conveyor belt and lighting the boiler starts the conveyor belt moving. COGITATE implies you need to move the bottle with the fishline attached to it using a device from another room but I cannot work out which device this would be.
This is a real voyage through machinery worthy of the Babel Fish Puzzle in HHG.
I am still working at it.