First off let me say that I have no experience with this but since we’re talking about cutting paper and fabric do we need a 1 inch thick steel grate? Would stainless steel fabric work as well?
Of course, it could reflect the laser and that would be a bad thing or the laser could eat away the stainless steel fabric. Either of which would nullify the suggestion.
Additional work would be required such as tacking the metal fabric onto some flat stock or angle iron to hold it stiff and flat. We have the metal shop and people who know how to use it. Let me be clear, I am not suggesting putting another item on anyone’s plate. However, there are those metal shop courses that are going on and perhaps this could be an exercise for the course participants?
Just my 2₵; h-m-m-m-m, I up that to $15.