How can I go about animating a custom model without purchasing software?

Looking around for a solution to being able to make custom models and have them animated (i.e. unique weapons) without having to purchase software such as Maya, and hitting a brick wall. Found the tutorials for exporting static meshes from blender to ADK and importing them, but that’s not something that will work with what we would like to do.

There’s no way that every modder out there with unique weapons/items/creatures is paying for software/a student with access to these things. So what are people using freely to be able to achieve these things?

I remember reading that ADK/UE4 has its own animating rig integrated. Can anyone point me to more information about that? Kind of at my wits end here, thank you for your patience and help!

I got Maya for free. I don’t really remember how, but just pretend you’re a student or IT person when you sign up I think. May have just been a bug, but I’ve had Maya for a while now. I’m probably not supposed to be advertising this, don’t really know what the rules here are.

My high school had autodesk software access for free for all of its students. I could probably still get access provided that I remembered what my login was, and that my account is active after six years. xD
However, I’m still looking for a freeware way to do things, as inconvenient as it may be, I wouldn’t mind using 10 steps and as many different programs for conversion as long as I achieve what I’d like to.