(a) Sample-loading system comprised of a station connected to a Watershed humidity-controlled gas-stream generator and to a vacuum pump. A foot pedal allows continuous variation of the suction applied to the station. (b) The sample-loading station has receptacles for an SSX sample support (with suction applied beneath the active area of the support via a gasketed port), a glass cover slip containing a crystallization drop and/or buffer, filter paper for back-side blotting and sample-sealing films. Humidity-controlled air flows through holes in the base of the station to maintain sample and drop hydration. The bottom of the station is transparent to allow back-illumination of both the sample-support film and the crystal-containing drop on the cover slip. (c) The blue plug is removed when accumulated solution drawn off via suction is to be drained.