As far as machine goes, I've never found anything as simple and reliable as the old Singer my grandmother passed down to me. Old machines aren't too hard to find, and can be pretty affordable - for example, mine is a 404, and I just saw one on Ebay selling for $60. You just have to trust that the one you're getting is in good condition (and know that you feel ok about no fancy features).
I have also done it. I have the Hack the Yudu kit, and it works great for me. The only two things to keep in mind are that liquid emulsion works best if you use a scoop coater to apply it, and also once it is mixed it only lasts for about three months...so to some extent, the price comparison depends on how frequently you use emulsion. But personally, I find it simpler than the sheets, as well as cheaper.