The engineering requirements for a high speed production line for optical elements have been investigated. The studies were based on a three-step process-diamond tubular tool generation, diamond pellet lapping and polishing with polyurethane bonded cerium oxide. Emphasis was placed on precision ground surface generation based on an analytical model. The generation process resulted in surfaces with a precision of one interference ring and an accuracy of three interference rings with respect to the desired radius of curvature. The lapping and polishing stages were designed to reduce the microstructure of the work while leaving the surface shape unaffected. At each stage of the process the surface figure was measured. A new testing technique was used to study and to quantify the microstructure of the lapped and polished surfaces. The microstructure was measured to 20 Angstroms peak-to-peak using a Scanning Fizeau Interferometer.