The design and development of a longitudinally excited continuous wave carbon dioxide laser is discussed. Theory related to laser design and development is presented in chapters 1 and 2. A brief overview of the literature behind the CO2 laser is also outlined. In chapter 3 the design and development of the laser are discussed in detail and illustrations to help explain the intricacies of the various processes have been included. In this booked series of experimental results obtained with the developed CW CO2 laser that focusses on the basic characterisation of the laser are discussed. Beam profile analysis forms part of the experimental results that are presenteded.