Surface mount soldering with a hot plate can be an absolute joy; the application of some solder paste, the positioning of components and the satisfying seconds where everything melts and flows and your board is essentially finished in one pass! This budget-friendly hot plate hopes to make this easy for you to achieve on your desk.
The upper deck of this hot plate design has the heater PCB. This is cunningly designed with two copper traces which connect to the power supply. Each trace has a resistance of around 3.5 ohms and will get hot when current flows. The lower board has a control circuit with a small display, a potentiometer and a button. You can set the temperature using the potentiometer and after you’ve soldered your board you can hit the red button to turn the heater off. Heater control comes via a Hall Effect sensor monitoring the current through the plate and whilst this might not be completely accurate it should be repeatable so that you can gain some knowledge of what temperature works for your projects.
With a plate area of 60mm by 50mm, we think this is perfect for most experimenters’ needs. All you need to add is a 12V supply capable of supplying up to 5A. Finally, this project is all open source and the documentation link on the product page contains a repository with all the source files. This is excellent if you want to build your own, make changes to the one you own, or if you wanted to get a spare heat plate made up locally. If you’re looking to expand your soldering kit, take a look and support an independent Tindie seller!