We describe the development of an instrument for the production of low energy positron beams that are bunched in time, and the use of a velocity selection device. The bunching unit was constructed from forty seven separate elements, coupled in series in a capacitor chain to reduce the delay time for propagation of the applied voltage pulse along the electrode system and to facilitate operation at frequencies up to 100 kHz. A parabolic potential distribution for time focusing was used. Tests with a dc positron beam produced from a radioactive source are described, together with measurements in which the buncher was used to compress positron pulses produced from an electron accelerator-based beam. Computer simulations of particle trajectories in the buncher have been performed resulting in a detailed evaluation of the factors that govern and limit the time resolution of the instrument. A sector magnet used to velocity-select intermediate energy positrons is described and its performance discussed. ©2003 American Institute of Physics.