Manufacturing methods for diamond machined optical surfaces, for application at infrared wavelengths, require that a new set of criteria must be recognised for the specification of surface form. Appropriate surface form parameters are discussed with particular reference to an XY cartesian geometry CNC machine. Methods for reducing surface form errors in diamond machining are discussed for certain areas such as tool wear, tool centring, and the fixturing of the workpiece. Examples of achievable surface form accuracy are presented. Traditionally, optical surfaces have been produced by use of random polishing techniques using polishing compounds and lapping tools. For lens manufacture, the simplest surface which could be created corresponded to a sphere. The sphere is a natural outcome of a random grinding and polishing process. The measurement of the surface form accuracy would most commonly be performed using a contact test gauge plate, polished to a sphere of known radius of curvature. QA would simply be achieved using a diffuse monochromatic source and looking for residual deviations between the polished surface and the test plate. The specifications governing the manufacture of surfaces using these techniques would call for the accuracy to which the generated surface should match the test plate as defined by a spherical deviations from the required curvature and a non spherical astigmatic error. Consequently, optical design software has tolerancing routines which specifically allow the designer to assess the influence of spherical error and astigmatic error on the optical performance. The creation of general aspheric surfaces is not so straightforward using conventional polishing techniques since the surface profile is non spherical and a good approximation to a power series. For infra red applications (X = 8-12p,m) numerically controlled single point diamond turning is an alternative manufacturing technology capable of creating aspheric profiles as well as simple spheres. It is important however to realise that a diamond turning process will possess a new set of criteria which limit the accuracy of the surface profile created corresponding to a completely new set of specifications. The most important factors are:- tool centring accuracy, surface waviness, conical form error, and other rotationally symmetric non spherical errors. The fixturing of the workpiece is very different from that of a conventional lap, since in many cases the diamond machine resembles a conventional lathe geometry where the workpiece rotates at a few thousand R.P.M. Substrates must be held rigidly for rotation at such speeds as compared with more delicate mounting methods for conventional laps. Consequently the workpiece may suffer from other forms of deformation which are non-rotationally symmetric due to mounting stresses (static deformation) and stresses induced at the speed of rotation (dynamic deformation). The magnitude of each of these contributions to overall form error will be a function of the type of machine, the material, substrate, and testing design. The following sections describe each of these effects in more detail based on experience obtained on a Pneumo Precision MSG325 XY CNC machine. Certain in-process measurement techniques have been devised to minimise and quantify each contribution.