In Aurora 9x18 instructables, I've shown the "hot plate reflow" method. I've since found hand soldering of SMD to be quicker for the assembly of Aurora. I think without a stencil to apply solder paste, the time it takes to apply solder paste is much longer than just soldering the parts with a soldering pencil.
Of course you can choose whatever method that works for you.
*** You need a PIC programmer such as PICKit 3, ICD2, ICD3 to program PIC24FV16KA304. PICKit 2 does not support this newer PIC. ***
If you decide to assemble Aurora 18x18, take time and make sure to double check each step be done correctly. As some parts are impossible to get to once you populate LEDs on the PCB, so it's important to double check all SMD parts are soldered correctly and securely before proceeding to solder LEDs.
Power supply requirement is regulated 5V DC, 1A capacity minimum. 500mA supply might work, but I like to have some safety margin, so 1A or more is recommended. USB power supplies and computer USB outlets generally work well also.
The step-by-step assembly guide and the latest firmware is available at my website: http://www.theledart.com/blog/aurora-18x18-assembly-guide