While trying to solder some 10x10 cm CubeSat 4 layer boards at home I found out that it is really hard. In school we have hot plate and infra-red preheater, so soldering big boards and components is easy. Preheater heats whole board up to about 120 degrees and this makes soldering of any kind much simpler. The amount of heat needed to warm up a joint is much smaller. Soldering big ground pad, massive heatsink tabs and big center pads becomes a piece of cake.
So, I wanted a preheater too. Preferably hot plate one, because it is cheaper, easier to use and good enough in most cases. I searched and no shop could sell me table stove small enough. The cheapest hot air ones were about 50€. So - I made one myself.
The Blazing Track - PCB preheater from PCB. It is 10 x 10 cm big hot plate. Top side is filled with 4 Ω worth of 1.1mm track. On the bottom side there is 5.5 x 2.1 mm barrel connector, red led to indicate if it is powered or not and some unpopulated bonus tracks. The PCB is inspired by Sick of Beige standard PCB sizes, but bigger. Standard should be DP100100, if there ever will be it. In all four corners there are legs, made from countersunk bolts so the top side is totally flat.
Power it with 12 V and it will take a bit under 3 A and will settle down to 2 A when hot. At 12 V it will get about 90°C. For other temperatures, try other voltages. This temperature is pretty good and helps with soldering.
There are extra pads on the bottom to solder SMD pinheader and 0603 thermistor, so you can make your own daughter board which measures and controls temperature.
Get the preheater from the shop