It doesn't wreck the balance that much. Just more compact and uses RF rather than lava.Thermal Smeltery also adds in some blocks for auto-casting ingots/tool parts/etc. I haven't personally tried them; I've only ever seen them in NEI. But i'm guessing you could use Thermal Smeltery to make gears automatically in IE:E, if it doesn't utterly wreck the balance.
And for expert mode you could tweak it in such a way that it would require smeltery parts. Like a couple manulin large tool rods and one of the machine blocks. Youd have to make a smeltery first.
Mariculture also has a compact smeltery, it uses lava though.
Tbh I kinda like the big multiblock smeltery just wish it had more fuel options other than the ludicrous lava. I'd like to get an rf smeltery option that didn't just make it more compact.
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