I made a relatively simple model in 3D Studio Max to be used in a game. It's a simple stationary laser turret with an openable maintenance hatch. I want to use Mechanim to handle the animation states. The parts of the model are parented in a way that it's easy to just make it move from code but I rather have it use Mechanim and animation files to make it easier to add details like idle animations. I tried animating it with Unity's build in animation editor which looked nice enough but I couldn't get the animation created with that in Mechanim for some reason. If I have to use an external editor to add animations, I can't seem to find any. Google only gives results on how to animate character models or how to make an animation just to be exported to video. How would I animate this model to work with mechanim, what programs should I use and what should I pay attention to?
You would usually animate your 3d model from 3d Studio Max itself. You'd have to create bones for your turret. Rig it, then skin it. Then add animations to that. Then in Unity, in the import settings for your turret, under the "Rig" tab set Animation Type to use Generic.
I don't think there's any other way to integrate your model to Mecanim, as of yet.