Advice for a noob: animating non-biped objects (specifically machinery)

Hello all you savvy animators! I just received the model from a commission I had done of a container crane. I need to animate this model to continue developing my puzzle game, but I am very new to Maya LT. Could anyone offer some advice for the total animation noob? I really only need two animations: one to move the “spreader” (the business end of the crane) up and down and another to move the spreader side to side. My question starts with bone placement. There are lots of tutorials on animating a biped model, but how do bones relate to machinery? Do I just need a bone anywhere that the model will be moving? I have attached a few screen shots of the crane in engine, any advice or encouragement would be greatly appreciated!

You can make those animations inside the editor with blueprints. Just bring the crane as 2 separate pieces into the engine, put them both into the same BP and then animate their location with Timelines.

Thanks! I considered that approach but then how do I handle the cables attaching the spreader to the crane? I should add that the material for the mesh isn’t finished yet, that picture only represents the UV map and does not have the normal map on it yet

You could also have a look at the tutorial videos from Digital Tutors:

It’s an introduction to animating in Maya.

Material isn’t a concern right now. As to the cables, I think you can make them with cable component inside the BP(Components tab > Add Component > Cable Component) again, and of course you need to remove them from the model first in order to do that. Take a look at cable component and let me know if it works for you.

Thanks Jacky I’ll check it out!