This idea came up while I was working on a Challenge involving IC2. I noticed that the only way to get bronze was by using dust, and the only way to get dust is with a macerator. In order to make the macerator, we need refined Iron, so in order to make bronze we need iron machines? Doesn't seem right.
I would like to suggest the implementation of 'Grinders' or the 'Mortar & Pestle' cheaper, less effective alternatives to Macerators. The machine should be operated by hand, perhaps by a redstone switch connected to the machine, after a set number of pulls it would produce a single ore dust, perhaps a chance at making two. In this way, players can gather ore dust and create Bronze without having to first gather Iron.
W=Wooden Planks F=Flint S=Stone
F F F
S S S
Mortar & Pestle recipe:
B=Bowl S=Stone +=Blank