And I need a form of power generation that is capable of forming more than 2 iron ingots. If I have all that, then yes: 2 hoppers are definitely affordable.
Charcoal + Generators. Easily doable with a Forestry multifarm. It's not really anybody else's fault that you're using lava for power gen instead of other far superior forms of power generation.
The difference is that for once I could just use other ways of smelting (like my own advanced furnace mod), or I could just quickly build like 8 furnaces to speed things up, because the material cost for a stone furnace is basically non-existent. I could theoretically build several metal formers, but the cost for one is not minor, I need to wire them, and they still drain ridiculous amounts of energy to work. If I had 4 metal formers, I'd be busy running back and forth fetching lava.
Then make an advanced metal former mod for another way of ingot forming? Or make green generators? You're not playing with GregTech, so solars/windmills are ultra cheap.
I'd love to, but for that I need resources, so in the beginning I just have to stare at them, waiting for them to complete. Especially if I have no chunk loader mod installed. You could even say that without other mods, IC2 in the experimental form is forcing you to stare at machines till they are done.
No you don't. Chop trees, build a house, do IC2 crops, set up a rubber plantation, or better yet mess with other mods you probably have installed. There are tons of things to do, especially in modded minecraft, so you don't really need to wait on IC2 machines for anything.
Beside that I don't really want to do excel spreadsheets to play a game, I don't even know what the resource costs are, because the CraftGuide support is still messed up.
Why do you still use CraftGuide? NEI does its job, and arguably 50 times better.