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Acetone was first produced by alchemists during the late Middle Ages via the dry distillation of metal acetates (e.g., lead acetate, which produced "spirit of Saturn" (since the alchemical symbol for lead was also the astrological symbol for the planet Saturn)).

Small amounts of acetone are produced in the body by the decarboxylation of ketone bodies.

Many millions of kilograms of acetone are consumed in the production of the solvents methyl isobutyl alcohol and methyl isobutyl ketone.

These products arise via an initial aldol condensation to give diacetone alcohol.

The technique, called acetone vapor bath smoothing, involves placing the printed part in a sealed chamber containing a small amount of acetone, and heating to around 80 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes. The acetone condenses evenly all over the part, causing the surface to soften and liquefy.