X rays emitted over a large angular range from conventional, laboratory-based sources can be transformed into a parallel beam or focused onto a small sample area to give efficient utilization of small sources for powder diffraction. For optimal system design, it is important that source parameters be well characterized. Source to window distance, spot size, intensity, and uniformity were measured for an Oxford Ultrabright Molybdenum source. Two polycapillary optics, a weakly focusing, and a collimating, optic were also characterized in detail. Measurements of x-ray diffraction data have been assessed for silicon and organic powders, and agree well with parameters predicted from the source and lens characterization.