3D Material such as PLA and ABS are used in 3D printing everyday by research labs and hobbyists all over the world. Solidoodle, Reprap, uPrinters, Makerbot, and Cube are the more common printers found in the market today.
PLA is also known as polyactic acid and ABS is known as Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene. These two types of materials are thermoplastics and used in manufacturing. PLA is very strong and reliable in the longevity of your prints. Although PLA is biodegrable, PLA has the ability to withstand water, weather, and still maintain its printed form throughout its lifecycle.
ABS is very strong and could possibly outlast PLA in many cases throughout the years. With so many different plastics used in rotomoulding or plastic injecting, once a plastic is used, much like welding a broken piece of steel, the plastic is never the same. If you are melting plastic, which is what happens in the manufacturing process to make filament, if you melt it over and over and over again it will weaken. Most virgin polymer plastics can be melted once and will hold up well in any 3D printer.
3D filament comes in sizes 1.75mm or 3mm. It typically comes packaged in a 1 KG spool and can be packaged 12 to a case. Most all filament comes vacuum sealed and 3D printer owners will buy on average 2-3 spools at a time. There are many different colors to choose from, Black, Green, Red, Blue, Transparent, White, and even Glow in the Dark. Finding a supplier for filament is sometimes frustrating. Some turn to ebay or amazon, we recommend finding a supplier that specializes in filament or 3D printers. One supplier we can recommend is www.cheap3dfilaments.com or you wanted to purchase in bulk you can check out www.wholesalefilaments.com
When you store your filament, you want to store it in a dry place and a nice temperature under 100 degrees. If any water or humidity gets in or on your filament, you will notice small air bubbles in your prints. This is a good indicator that you have not properly stored your filament.
Pricing on 3D filament can vary, it is true you get what you pay for. Some of the more promising 3D filament dealers are priced between 27-35.00. Costs from the manufactures can be anywhere between 12-18.00 so anything under 27.00 to us would be very cheaply made because of the lack of markup for a retail store or online dealer.