Extensive use of plastics has become commonplace in the optics industry over the last decade. Plastics offer many advantages in the design and manufacturing of novel optical components. A combination of advanced techniques for machining and measuring surfaces as well as process control during molding enable optics manufacturers to make tightly toleranced multielement plastic aspheric lenses. In this paper we will attempt to describe a general approach we might follow to develop and evaluate a prototype optical component. In the first part of the paper we will discuss the equipment and resources that might be used for this task, while in the second part we will present a procedure we might follow in the design and fabrication of precision prototype plastic optical components.